My First Tag
By Chase Lanning
My dad loves to hunt and applies for a lot of tags every year. He always has a lot of photos from his hunts when he gets home. He told me after I passed my hunter safety test that he would start applying for me. On my tenth birthday, I took the hunter safety test. I was thrilled when I found out I had passed. My dad took me pheasant hunting in Kansas to celebrate.
In the spring of 2018, we applied for several tags in different states. The only tag I drew was for javelina in Arizona. My dad drew a Coues deer tag in Arizona for October before my hunt. He got his buck. He then spent time scouting so we would have a place to start when it was my turn to hunt.
We left home on Thanksgiving Day for the 1,100-mile trip to Arizona. Our Thanksgiving meal was gas station hamburgers. We stayed with Scott Adams in Arizona. He is a friend of my dad who posts some awesome hunting photos and videos.
On November 23rd, opening day, we got up at 5:30 and drove to our hunting spot. We started the hunt by climbing Mount Sheila. One of Scott’s friends named the mountain after his ex-wife, Sheila. He said the mountain was cruel to him just like his ex-wife.
Austin and James are Scott’s sons, and they joined us on the hunt. We set up binoculars and spotting scopes on top of the mountain and began looking for javelina. We found one large group about four miles away from our location. We had to walk back down the mountain and drive closer to them.
We climbed up a new mountain across from the javelina and found two different groups about 600 yards away. There was a cow and several mule deer between us and the pigs. We had to wait for them to move out of our way to make a stalk. After the deer moved, we stalked within 40 yards of three javelina. They were trying to lay down and nap, and I couldn’t get a shot. They took off before we could find a good opening. We followed them behind the mountain, hoping to catch them, but we never saw them again. We found four different javelina but could not get close, so back up the mountain we went. We found the original group of about 15 javelina but no luck. We stayed on top of the mountain and hiked north towards another group. We decided to walk off the mountain to the opposite hillside to give us a better view. On our way down, I could hear the javelina grunting and making noises very close to us. Scott and my dad don’t hear well, so they couldn’t hear them, but I did.
We stopped and talked about hearing the javelina. We looked back up the mountain where we had crossed and there was one standing right where we had walked. There were now six to eight between us and the top of the mountain we had just walked down. I got set up on a spotting scope tripod to take a shot. A big boar was standing under a prickly pear cactus 100 yards away. He turned broadside and gave me a good shot. Using my grandfather’s .225 Winchester, I took it. B0om! He was down.
I was super excited, even though we had to take a lot of pictures. I received a lot of congratulations from everyone. We packed up the javelina and began hiking out to a nearby trail. Austin and James drove in and picked us up. When we got back to Scott’s house, we skinned the javelina for a full body mount, which I hope gets to hang in our house. My dad butchered the meat, and we got it in a freezer.
The next day, my dad and I went quail hunting. Sadly, we had no luck. We decided we had better start the 1,100-mile drive home. We spent the night in the truck near the Texas-Oklahoma border.
It was a great trip, and I had a bunch of fun. I can’t wait to see what tag I draw this year!