By Russell Thornberry
-- When you've been married as long as I have, coming up with something truly original for the "little woman" for Valentine's Day can be challenging, but this year I outdid myself. I offered my wife a javelina and she went for it. What's a javelina? Also known as the collard peccary, the javelina is a bristly little member of the swine family that is actually the only wild swine native to North America. They live in the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.
A big one will weigh 60 pounds and they are very stinky little critters, thanks to a musk gland on their backs, which sprays a foul mist into the air when they are alarmed. Subsequently, the mist falls back on the mister and, simply put, they stink. What more could a woman want for Valentine's Day? Yea, I know - I'm just a hopeless romantic.
So off to Mexico we went to the Rancho Las Palmas at the invitation of my long-time friends James and Jimmy Ferguson. I have been filming deer hunting TV shows on the ranch for nearly a decade and while the deer hunting has always been exceptional, the javelina population has virtually exploded in the last four or five years. In fact, last December while filming a deer hunt, cameraman Jimmy Little and I saw 50 or more javelinas from our deer blind - all visible at one time. The ground was crawling with them.
After that hunt the Fergusons and I decided that we needed to come back after the deer hunting was over, bring our wives with us, and just hang out and relax for a few days. So that's what we did - on Valentine's Day.
I should point out, that my bride has ice water in her veins and an itchy trigger finger, so when you tell her to shoot something it gets really shot really quickly. Such was the case on the afternoon of St. Valentine's Day. Sharleen and I climbed into a box blind in a particularly javelina rich area. Ten minutes after we arrived we saw a couple of javelinas emerge from the thorny brush in front of us and I was explaining to her where to aim when I happened to look behind us and saw a swarm of the little swine strung down the sendero.
She got turned around and had to pick one out of a dozen or more. The criteria were to wait until her intended target turned broadside and then hold the vertical crosshair through the ear and the horizontal crosshair through the eye, and where the two lines intersected was the magic spot. The .22-250 snorted and the javelina dropped like a sack of sand. In the course of the evening she managed to drop a few more with equal skill. None of them ever took a step. No tracking required! Ya gotta love a woman like that!
When we arrived at the skinning shed the ranch hands were thrilled with the little pigs and immediately began planning their menu to include fresh javelina. They even asked us if we could bring them some more -- and we did.
Jimmy's wife Terri, who had already been introduced to hunting, had little trouble adding some more pigs to the pot, and with a little encouragement we talked James' wife Evelyn into taking up the cause. With her first shot ever at wild game she dropped a handsome pig (beauty is in the eye of the beholder) in its tracks!
And so it was that our wives were wowed with our originality and generosity on Valentine's Day. Nothing says I love you like a javelina in the crosshairs. And if that ain't love . . . I don't know what is.
If you'd like to surprise your Valentine with her very own javelina hunt next year, or get her a surprise birthday present, contact Jimmy Ferguson, Jr. at 2-J outfitters: (979) 533-0694 or email him at Jamesjr@2joutfitters.com. You can find more information about deer and dove hunting on the ranch at 2joutfitters.com.
For information on James Ferguson Sr.'s custom rifles contact him at (979) 533-0140. You might have read one of many articles Buckmasters has published on his exceptional, flat shooting rifles, such as the .257 Hot Tamale or the .30x378 Habanero. Suffice to say that any rifle that can be zeroed 2 1/2 inches high at 100 yards, generates bullet muzzle exit speed of 4,000 FPS and lets you aim right at the animal with no holdover out 500 yards is worth investigating.
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