Archery javelina season ended a three year long quest for one of these Arizona pigs and truth be told, my cold weather hunting gear was washed and put away. I have been focusing on staying close to home on the weekends and hunting Gambel’s quail and thinking about maybe trying out my new three weight reel. Instead, I was offered an opportunity to go up and help Austin’s cousin on his first bigger game hunt. Arizona Game and Fish has a great juniors program set up in order to get younger blood into the field and give them a decent chance at harvesting an animal. For example, archers usually get two or three weeks of hunting, followed by juniors, then HAM, then rifle. In my opinion, it’s fairly advantageous to take up archery and get out before the majority of the other hunters start driving the roads. The juniors hunt is extremely beneficial too as it gets the kids into the field before the game is too spooked, and I was looking forward to helping Haden bag his first javelina.
Uncle Don and Haden were already camped and had put in a hard day of hunting without seeing any javelina. So Austin and I dragged ourselves two and a half hours to their camp to offer our eyes for Saturday, before coming back home later that night. (It is the playoffs after all.) A quick strategy was arranged and we split into two groups in order to glass more country and try and catch a herd coming out to feed in the morning sunlight.
After glassing for a half hour or so, I hear a tremendous sigh and Austin say, “There aren’t any pigs here, let’s take off.”
On any normal day, it would usually be me saying this. Being relatively new to the west, the concept of staring through binoculars for hours on end can become tedious and boring. Over the past several seasons, I would like to think that I have become a little more patient and experienced.
“Hold off. 15 more minutes.”
I can’t believe the words were actually coming out of my mouth, but sure enough, a minute later, I pick of the distinct movement of javelina feeding their way through a patch of prickly pear. Austin raced off to find Don and Haden, and before long Don and Haden had stalked their way into 40 yards of the herd undetected. Within moments, Haden put a perfectly placed shot behind the front shoulder of a nice looking javelina. The entire scene unfolded through the lenses of my binoculars and was truly awesome to watch. Whopping and hollering could be heard echoing across the valley as we realized Haden had been successful. Photographed, field dressed, and tagged, Haden was carrying out his first pig by 10:30. Not to shabby for a Saturday morning.
It was rewarding experience to go up and help Haden hunt javelina and being a part of his success will always be a cherished memory. I think it is an important to pass along the tradition of hunting in respect to American conservation and ultimately family values and respect for God’s creation. Some of my best memories as a young man are walking through the woods with my dad and brothers looking at and learning all that the natural world has to offer. I think it is for this reason that I get so much joy from taking up a fly rod, bow, or gun and getting into the big country of Arizona and taking advantage of everything it has offer.