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Black Hawg Down

Ken Piper

Easton's new Deep Six arrow system is deadly on wild pigs.

By Ken Piper

Bouncing through the cattle pasture in a pickup, we were still within sight of the main dirt road when we spotted our first whitetail of the morning. That sighting was followed quickly by turkeys, plenty of doves, more whitetails and even an alligator!

I would have expected such diverse and plentiful wildlife in Texas — except maybe for the alligator — but we were in Florida. And not inside a high fence.

The only fences were the four-string barbed wire variety necessary to confine the many varieties of cows on Hoppy Kempfer’s 25,000-acre working ranch. The property also is home to Hoppy’s other business, Osceola Outfitters.

Hoppy offers hunts for whitetails, gators, turkeys and wild hogs, and the ranch has plenty of all four species.

Our quarry for the late August hunt was hogs. Petersen’s Bowhunting editor Christian Berg and I were there courtesy of Easton and New Archery Products. The goal was to try out Easton’s new Injexion arrows, along with NAP’s Killzone broadheads, one of the five new heads NAP makes for Easton’s Deep Six micro-diameter hunting shafts.

Thanks in part to Buckmasters Expo exhaustion and a missed flight, by the time I arrived in Florida, Christian and NAP staffer Jason McKee already had hogs hanging in the cooler. With plenty of time remaining to take their second pigs, they opted to tag along with me.

Hoppy offers a variety of hog hunting techniques, including the use of dogs or treestands over feeders, but we chose to try spot-and-stalk for my first pig. We rode around the ranch in Hoppy’s pickup, looking for pigs in likely locations. I had no idea what a likely hog location looked like until later in the hunt, so it was really helpful to have the more experienced hog killers along. Plus, the pickup ride helped pass the time between sightings, and we got to share stories and learn a little more about the ranch.

Petersen’s Bowhunting editor Christian Berg, NAP staffer Jason McKee and Buckmasters editor Ken PiperAs we approached a section of the property with several large oak trees and sparse undergrowth, Christian said, “Man, this really looks piggy here.” Hoppy agreed and said the hogs love the acorns, but told us that particular part of the property made for a very difficult stalk because of the lack of undergrowth.

Hoppy no sooner finished his sentence when Christian and Jason both said, “There they are!”

Hoppy and I looked to the right and saw a group of about seven young boars rooting under one of the oaks. My first pig stalk ensued and, to sum up, it was very exciting but unsuccessful.

Wild hogs, Hoppy had explained, don’t see very well, and their hearing in only average. But their sense of smell is at least as good as a whitetail’s.

A typical stalk involves staying downwind, sneaking from cover to cover and slowing easing into shooting position. If the hogs are rooting with their heads down, it’s not difficult to get into bow range. The hard part is drawing your bow, along with the animals’ tendency to move around so much.

Black Hawg DownDespite the lack of cover, that first group never saw us coming. Hoppy got us to within 30 yards, but the hogs decided to move out right after I drew my bow. One thing I learned about wild pigs is when the first one leaves, the rest follow.

We got back in the truck, and it wasn’t long before a huge spotted boar crossed the road in front of us. If I had been better prepared, I likely could have gotten a shot. Judging from the comments coming from the back seat, it was obvious Christian thought it was a missed opportunity. Chalk it up to another hog hunting lesson — have an arrow handy and be ready to slip out of the truck quickly.

The lessons continued a few minutes later after Jason spotted a few dark shapes moving across a narrow break in some pines. We immediately jumped on the trail and set out after the pigs.

I quickly realized the hip quiver I was using was not a good idea. I had rigged an Epic HD action camera to the quiver holes on the side of my Mathews Heli-m. It was a good setup for the camera, but it kept me from using the Mathews quiver. You can’t sneak through palmetto thickets with a hip quiver.

Fortunately, Hoppy knows his stuff, and even with all the extra noise, he managed to bring us within 10 yards of the pigs. One second we were slinking through the underbrush. The next, Hoppy reached back and stopped me with his hand. “They’re right there!” he said, pointing to a small opening to our left.

It was a classic standoff. An adult sow had us pegged, but she wasn’t quite sure what we were or where we had come from. I wasn’t crazy about the quartering-to angle, but it wasn’t a giant pig, and the Injexion arrows were designed for increased penetration. “If you can, take her in the shoulder now!” Hoppy whispered.

I drew the bow and had to take another step to come into the clear. A split second later, I sent the arrow on its way.

After the chaos of scattering pigs and thrashing underbrush settled, we walked over to look for sign. We immediately found my arrow, whole and unscathed but wonderfully covered in blood from tip to fletchings.

Jason and Hoppy followed the trail into a nasty palmetto thicket and found the 80-pound sow about 20 yards from the point of impact. My first wild hog was in the books, and Hoppy said I couldn’t have shot a better pig for eating.

Of course, the underlying reason for being there was to try out the Injexion-Killzone combination, so we took some time to examine the damage.

The arrow entered just behind the near shoulder, traveled about two-thirds through the body cavity and exited in front of the off-side ham. At the risk of being too graphic, the field-dressing job was already about half done.

Based on what the Easton and NAP folks had told us about the arrows and broadheads, I had high expectations. The results on my pig, and those taken by Jason and Christian, certainly back up the hype.

Injexion arrows are available in two models: all-carbon and an aluminum/carbon combination. The ultra-thin diameter focuses energy for up to 30 percent more penetration than standard-diameter hunting shafts, and they’re less susceptible to crosswind.

Target archers have long enjoyed the benefits of micro-diameter shafts, but conventional inserts and broadheads weren’t compatible with thin target arrows. To overcome that obstacle, Easton created the Deep Six system of components.

The heart of the Deep Six system is a stainless steel HIT insert that accepts broadheads with 8/40 threading. Although smaller in diameter than standard 8/32 inserts, the extra threading provides a strong, secure anchor for Deep Six broadheads.

Currently, only NAP and Muzzy offer broadheads for the Deep Six system. Rumor has it other companies like Rage will be introducing Deep Six compatible heads for 2013.

NAP’s Killzone broadheadsThe NAP Killzone expandable heads we used on the hog hunt performed flawlessly, blasting through hogs and creating short, easy tracking jobs. NAP also offers the Thunderhead Razor, Spitfire Maxx, Bloodrunner and Big Nasty in Deep Six models.

Muzzy offers its tried-and true-DX-3 head with Deep Six compatibility.

Even with the benefits of extra accuracy and penetration of Injexion arrows, Easton is facing an uphill battle. Any time a product moves away from a long-held industry standard, there’s resistance. Cost could be a factor, too. The all-carbon Injexions I used on the hunt retail for about $80 for a half dozen, but I’ve seen them online for as little as $128 for 12, very much in line with premium shaft prices. Easton will get a lot of sticker shock when hunters see the $280 price for a dozen of the A/C Injexions, however.

Easton A/C/C arrows have long been my favorite hunting shaft, combining the durability of carbon with the straightness of aluminum. Those characteristics packed in the Injexion’s new smaller-diameter, thicker-walled shafts should be a particularly deadly combination for those who shell out the cash for the A/C model. I’m going to continue to put the standard Injexions through their paces throughout the rest of the fall and will most likely stick with them. If they perform as well on whitetails as they did on the pigs, I’ll be more than pleased.

Even with all the benefits of the Injexions, the folks at Easton know it could take awhile for Bowhunters to accept the new thread standard. To help broaden the Deep Six market, they had the forethought to make Deep Six inserts available for its popular Axis, Full Metal Jacket and Beman Bone Collector arrows. With a broader range of shafts for hunters to choose from, more companies will get on board with making 8/40-thread broadheads.

By far, the most appealing aspect of the Injexions for me is the extra 30 percent of penetration Easton says they provide. Is that enough to lure mainstream bowhunters into trying the shafts? Let’s say you make a shoulder shot with a standard arrow and get only 4 inches of penetration. An Injexion arrow would give you about 5.2 inches. That’s a big difference when trying to get through muscle and bone to the heart or lungs of a big buck.

The Injexions are durable, accurate and hit harder than anything else I’ve ever shot. I was impressed and will be using them on whitetails this fall.

There’s no difference in building the arrows, and the only drawback is you can’t switch to a non-Deep Six head — if that’s a drawback. The Killzones certainly did the job, and I know of about six Florida pigs that probably wished we had been using something else.

For more information on Easton Injexion broadheads and the Deep Six component system, visit www.eastonarchery.com.

For more information about NAP broadheads, arrow rests, QuickFletch, vanes, stabilizers and accessories, visit www.newarchery.com.

For information about booking a hunt with Osceola Outfitters, visit www.osceolaoutfitters.com.

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