USA: Fair chase Javelina Hunt West Texas

Trail Rated

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In Texas, the state Parks & Wildlife department offers chances to hunt various game on public wildlife reserves each year. This year I applied for and was drawn on a four-day javelina hunt at Big Bend Ranch State Park in far West Texas. It’s very remote, rugged country, where 4-wheel-drive vehicles are required and most hunters choose to camp in tents in the compartments they’re assigned.

I was completely alone in my compartment, about 5 square miles of rocks, thorny scrub bushes and cactus. There was no shade from the desert sun, and daytime temps were in the 90s F (30 C).

I spent the first two days scouting and climbing hillsides to glass. I saw plenty of beautiful mule deer, but no javelinas. I went to plan B on the third morning, scaling a small mountain to bisect a trail heading south, to no avail. For that afternoon, I got in the Jeep and headed to the south end of the compartment to walk north, since a storm and the breeze were blowing in from that direction. After a couple of hours of walking through the spitting rain, I spotted a javelina poking through the brush and I nailed it with my carbine.

The javelina weighed 30 lbs gutted. It was an ordeal carrying/dragging it back down the trail to my Jeep, but at least with the rain the temps were much lower.

I haven’t been to Namibia, but the terrain seems similar based on photos. Given the strenuous nature of this hunt, I think I better get my African Safari in before I get even older.
 
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PHOENIX PHIL

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Congratulations! We have lots of javelina in Arizona, they all seem to disappear when I have a tag however.
 

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Trail Rated, that sounds like a fun hunt! I most often hunt alone for mule deer and elk. It can become quite the challenge for a guy once he gets to his 70s. If I’m lucky enough to get another elk this year, we’ll see if I can do it one more time!
Congratulations on a hunt well done!
 

BRICKBURN

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Congratulations.

Are they tasty?
 

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Congratulations. Looks like a fun hunt. I donate a fair amount of money to TPWD every year on draw hunts. No luck yet.
 

Trail Rated

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Congratulations.

Are they tasty?

There are differing opinions. I’m of the “meat is meat” persuasion, but a lot of my fellow Texans won’t touch javelina. The animals mark their territory with a scent gland that makes them smell kind of skunky, and if you botch the processing the meat can go bad. I’ll have to let you know when I get my backstraps and chili meat back from the processor.
 

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There are differing opinions. I’m of the “meat is meat” persuasion, but a lot of my fellow Texans won’t touch javelina. The animals mark their territory with a scent gland that makes them smell kind of skunky, and if you botch the processing the meat can go bad. I’ll have to let you know when I get my backstraps and chili meat back from the processor.
Congrats!
I grew up in Arizona but like Phoenix Phil had a heck of a time killing one. That said, I did 3 years back. While most folks from Arizona delegate them to burrito meat, I found it to be just fine. The key is skinning it and leaving that musk gland on it's back alone. Don't even think of going near it, it'll taint the meat. It'll come off with the skin and most people just cut the backskin off and never go near it. After that the meat is fine. I had various cut and made good sausage from the remainder.
Incidentally, the gland is more for communication than territory marking. They get spooked and they'll use it to let the pack know what's up.
 

Trail Rated

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Update: Yes, they’re tasty. I cooked some in a batch of chili this weekend and it was delicious.
 

jeff

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I took a havelina with my recurve a few years back in Arizona and the meat was excellent. My buddy also got one on that trip and he give me his meat it was also excellent.
 

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