USA: Hunting Javelina in Arizona

JimP

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Well I got tired of just sitting around the house plowing snow so I headed to Arizona to hunt a javelina. While they are not a brush pig, elk, kudu, or a lot of other animals they are a worthy quarry.

Here is the story:


We stated out this year as usual. A long drive from Colorado down to Catalina, Arizona where we would be staying with a friend while we were hunting. For some reason this 800 mile drive doesn’t get any shorter as the years go by.

The first day we did our usually driving the washes looking for tracks. On my drive I saw a pickup truck parked in one of the better canyons to hunt so I continued on to one of the better spots. I hadn’t seen any track so I decided to take a hike into the top of the canyon from the back side and do some glassing. I got up into it and glassed for a while without seeing anything other than some mule deer. I then headed down into it to hike the bottom out and then up and over into another canyon to go from the bottom to the top checking out the usual hiding places for javelina. When I got near the top I saw that my hunting partner had come down from the top of another area to meet up with me. He also hadn’t seen anything so we headed back to our wheelers to checkout other areas. I headed up to the powerline road to get up high and glass while Roy headed over into the other wash to look for tracks. We both struck out and since it was near lunch time we went looking for Bob who is our friend and was also out there looking around since he doesn’t hunt anymore. He also supplies Cosco chimi-chungas wrapped in tinfoil to heat over hot coals for lunch. We found him and had some lunch and then went back looking for tracks. It was also quite hot and the javelina are just like people. They find some shade and take a nap when it gets hot. We went home empty handed the first day.

Day two found us over in an area that we call Rock Springs. There is quite a bit of water in this area and a couple of high hills where you can get up to and then glass. Roy headed to the high spot and I headed up the wash a ways further looking for tracks. I then took a hike into a canyon checking out hiding spots since the wind was blowing and they don’t like the wind and usually hunker down. I did this with no luck and Roy wasn’t seeing anything either so off to find Bob with the chimi-chungas and lunch. After lunch we went our own ways looking for tracks but by dark we were still without any thing to show for two days.

Day three we headed back up to our usual locations looking for them, and came up with nothing. We were starting to wonder just where these things were hiding, we also knew that they had to be there somewhere. That afternoon I had met up with Roy and were driving the middle wash area when I spotted a set of 4 tracks going across the wash and heading to the east. We headed up over the powerline road into the next wash and found a set of tracks for two adults and two juveniles heading to the west and towards the other set that we had crossed earlier in the other wash. We now had a plan for the next morning.

Day four I headed up into the wash that had the two adults and two juveniles and Roy headed into the other one with the set of 4 tracks. I had told Roy that I expected that the pigs were going to be up in a small pocket draw in between the two of us. I parked my wheeler and headed up the hill to the top hoping that Roy was doing the same from the other side. As I topped out I spotted two groups of deer, one of the groups headed to the southwest and up a hill. Just as they disappeared I looked up that hill to see the two adult javelina and two juveniles cross over a saddle right on top, the deer had spooked them out. They were around 400 yards away so I tried to get Roy on the radio but he didn’t answer so I just watched them disappear over the hill and out of sight. Later when I found Roy I learned that he had decided not to go up into that pocket draw and that decision had possibly cost him a shot at one that day.

The rest of the week we played hide and go seek with the pigs with never getting a shot at them. This was getting frustrating. We were going to hunt only half a day on Friday and then drive home on Saturday but decided to hunt a whole day on Friday and a half on Saturday and then drive home Sunday. This was a good decision.

Friday morning we headed out with Roy taking one wash and I the other. I wanted to hike out a good looking area that had a lot of small pockets in that I knew had to hold pigs. At least they used to. While I was up an area Roy had gone up to the end of a wash and Bob brought up the rear in his jeep stopping and glassing. Bob spotted the pigs first, just feeding along a hillside to the north of both me and Roy. He got Roy on the radio and Roy headed back towards him. Once there it took him a while to find the pigs on the hill but when he did he started hiking up to them. He got on top of the hill and had one at 70 yards. He readied his pistol for the shot and pulled the trigger…………click………a misfire. He quickly chambered a second round and this time it went off. He missed. He reloaded again and……….click……another misfire and by this time the pigs were off. He then had one at 150 yards and took a shot. The gun went off and the thought that he had hit the pig but couldn’t find any blood. He then went down to where Bob was located at and checked out his pistol. A Thompson Center G2. He then shot a couple of targets hitting close enough that he should of hit the pig. He then went back up onto the hill looking for blood. I was in the meantime headed back to my wheeler and did hear his two shots at the targets but figured that they were further away and in the wrong direction that what I figured that he was in. I then drove down the wash that I was in and met up with Bob who told me what had happened and while I was talking with Bob Roy was heading down the ridge towards us. I then noticed that he was aiming at something and tried to see what was there. He then told us that there were two pigs right in front of him. I then got into a spot to watch but never did see anything and they apparently gave us the slip. It was now lunch time and time for some more chimi-chungas.

After lunch I decided to go back to a nice long draw and hike it out and Roy was going to hike up the ridge towards where I was going to be. So off we went. I had almost reached the top of the draw that I was in when I saw the pigs moving about 200 yards away. There were 12 of them headed over the saddle into the other wash. I called Roy and told him what was going on and then I saw more pigs headed for the top. As I was going as fast as I could to get within range I watched around 20 more in groups of 2, 3’s, and 5’s head over the top. All I could think is where is Roy? I then looked across the draw and saw what looked like a pig in a bush. I looked with my binoculars and it was indeed one and I figured that I didn’t have too much time to get him. I didn’t have the time to range him but figured that he was around 100 yards off so down onto the ground I went and pulled my Thompson Center Contender chambered in 7-30 Waters out of the holster. I braced it over my knee and found the pig with the crosshairs. I pull the trigger and shot…….I missed. The pig took a couple of steps out of the bush and into the open. I quickly reloaded and cranked up the power to around 5 or 6x on the scope. My eye relief was now shorter and I had to adjust my position to get the full view in the scope then I also had a better view of the pig. I placed the crosshairs right behind the collar and just above the center line of the pig and pulled the trigger. Down he went. He didn’t move, I had my javelina.

I now saw Roy and told him where the rest of them went over and off he went onto his own adventure. It took me a while to find my pig and get to work on him. Then I had to get him down the mile to my wheeler. If I would have been smart I would have taken him up over the hill and into the other wash and then drove around to him. But sometimes I just don’t think of the easier way to do things.

In the end Roy caught up with the pigs and got 4 or 5 shots without hitting any of them. He also had a few more miss fires on close shots. Perhaps now he will listen to me and replace the hammer spring. I’ll find out next year in Arizona when we are back looking for the “Ghost of the desert” down in Arizona.

My load for hunting these animals is a fire formed Remington 30-30 case to 7-30 Waters with 36 grains of W748 over a CCI 200 primer and a 120grain Nosler Balistic Tip bullet. This gives me a velocity of 2200fps out of a 12” TC ported hunters barrel. I have found this load deadly on a lot of animals up to deer out to 200 yards.

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Nice job! I've always thought getting one of these critters would be a lot of fun.
 
Well done. I've lived in AZ for 14 years now and never shot a javelina!
 
Excellent job!
Javalina hunting In AZ is a blast. I have been successful a few times. This year my Javalina hunt starts this Friday taking 2 of the grandsons. it's a great time to be out in the desert this time of year even if we don't get one. temperature should be in the 70's
 
Phoenix, you need to give it a try. We have been doing it now for 23 years. It started as a way to get warm for a couple of weeks after working in the cold in Colorado and now two of us just can't quit. As you can see we use pistols and if you get away from the resident herds that live on the outskirts of the cities they can be a real challenge.

Arizona, good luck on the rifle hunt and yes it looks like it is going to be warm out there coming up and sounds like a fun time with the grand kids. I am sure that you need to be aware of the snakes. We know of a den site and when a friend went up to it to take some pictures they were quite active and he almost stepped on one about 20 yards away from the den.
 
If anyone wants a Javelina, don't mind mixes of decent and small sizes, and doesn't mind hunting close to civilization in Az let me know

I literally chase them out of my yard with a stick

And have a decent chance at a male lion let me know. Im in the city limits so its archery gear only, but rifle if you want to move around and glass. Area 30B and there are normally a ton of tags

I don't hunt Javelina, and Lion tags are over the counter. Draw a rifle javelina tag, and Ill be happy to give detailed instructions on where to go, and last I checked archery gear and crossbows are legal during rifle hunts.

I even know where there is an extra bedroom
 
If anyone wants a Javelina, don't mind mixes of decent and small sizes, and doesn't mind hunting close to civilization in Az let me know

I literally chase them out of my yard with a stick

And have a decent chance at a male lion let me know. Im in the city limits so its archery gear only, but rifle if you want to move around and glass. Area 30B and there are normally a ton of tags

I don't hunt Javelina, and Lion tags are over the counter. Draw a rifle javelina tag, and Ill be happy to give detailed instructions on where to go, and last I checked archery gear and crossbows are legal during rifle hunts.

I even know where there is an extra bedroom

You might just hear from me!
 
This does sound like a lot of fun.
Thanks for sharing your tale.
 
If anyone wants a Javelina, don't mind mixes of decent and small sizes, and doesn't mind hunting close to civilization in Az let me know

I literally chase them out of my yard with a stick

And have a decent chance at a male lion let me know. Im in the city limits so its archery gear only, but rifle if you want to move around and glass. Area 30B and there are normally a ton of tags

I don't hunt Javelina, and Lion tags are over the counter. Draw a rifle javelina tag, and Ill be happy to give detailed instructions on where to go, and last I checked archery gear and crossbows are legal during rifle hunts.

I even know where there is an extra bedroom

I hunted in 30b a few years ago now.. didn't have any luck spotting any javelina. maybe one day ill come back and give it another go!
 
My folks live in Oro Valley and have to carry a bat when walking the dog to keep the javelina at bay. I have yet to see one when visiting. Would love to take one with a bow some year.
 
Congrats on your hunt! Sounds like a great time. We miss south eastern Arizona.

I recommend 35a/b for javelina. I used to live in Sierra Vista. We would have herds running around in our neighborhood all the time. You can always tell they're close by the smell.
 
Congratulations on your hunt!
That sounds like great fun! Maybe I need to visit and try for javelina and maybe squeeze in some quail for my old dog?
Thanks for the report and info.
 
If you could hunt the ones around the homes it would be great but there is a difference between the urban and rural ones. Just about anywhere you find javelina you will find them living in towns and subdivisions where you can't hunt them and there are a lot of them in these areas. From what I understand there is a archery tag that you can get to hunt them in Tucson proper, there are a lot of large washes that are far enough away from people and homes that archery gear can be used. Even the areas that I hunt them there are homes but the homes are close enough together that you can't fire a firearm around them. That is where we hunt them out in the country.

If you want to shoot some quail on your hunt you either need to go with a archery tag during January or a HAM (handgun, archery, muzzle loader) hunt where you can get 3 days at the tail end of quail season.

Army Vet, we hunt north of Oricle in 37b, but I understand your statement of needing a baseball bat when waling a dog. There are a lot of them inside of the developed areas due to flower gardens and dog/cat food being left outside for pets that they will never leave.
 
I've lived in Tucson for most of my life, and have spent much time out in 37b for quail and Javi. The agricultural areas down by Wilcox can be pretty good. 60-70 lb. Pigs can be had on occasion.
 
Brent in AZ, 60-70 lb javelina sounds HUGE! Do you feed them candy ;).
I may need to look into this. My wife needs some time out of CO in the winter months.
 
Brent in AZ, 60-70 lb javelina sounds HUGE! Do you feed them candy ;).
I may need to look into this. My wife needs some time out of CO in the winter months.
The pigs feed on the crops and vegtables. The problem is access. The pigs come in at night, and head back to the bedding areas at first light. If you can gain access to property, it will probably be archery, otherwise you have to hunt the fringes of public land where it meets the private land.
 
I own Skeeter Skelton's old TC in 357 Herrett and really ought to try Javelina with it one day. I kept the iron sights he put on it, but it's plenty accurate under 100 yds.
 
A 357 Herrett would work great and with shots under 100 yards you should have no problem. I have used my 357 Herrett to take a couple of cow elk so a javelina should be no problem.
 
JimP - Mind if I ask what load you used on the cow elk?
 

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