By Joe Famiglietti
Special to The News
I have been an avid bowhunter for 52 years and am always looking for offseason ways to practice in order to be successful during the regular big game seasons.
This year I am turning 70, and my family treated me to a summer hunting trip to the Tioga Ranch in Tioga, Pa. I had been working on my equipment all spring in preparation for a fall mule deer bowhunt in South Dakota. I made major changes in my archery setup including a new bow, lighter arrows, new broadheads and a new bow sight. My new equipment was working well shooting into practice targets, but I thought it would be beneficial to try the new equipment out on wild boars to be sure my setup performed well.
The Tioga Ranch is a popular hunting preserve and is well stocked with wild boar. I arrived at the ranch at 6:30 a.m. on the first day in order to beat the afternoon heat, which was expected to be 90 degrees. After taking some bow shots on their practice range, my guide, Chase, took me to one of their hunting areas, which was a 275-acre parcel.
He told me they had been seeing some very nice hogs and discussed my hunting options. I declined to hunt out of a tree stand over bait, preferring to hunt on the ground using the spot and stalk method. Chase set me up in a spot next to a well-used trail that the boars frequent.
After a 45-minute wait, a group of several hogs came up the trail about 35 yards from me. They were moving very fast, and I did not feel comfortable taking a moving shot, letting them pass. A few minutes later, a group of five hogs approached from below me, including two very large Russian boars.
They slowly moved into an opening that was 32 yards away. I took a shot at the largest hog and hit the animal a bit off from where I was aiming, but I knew it was a lethal shot as the animal ran off and laid down about 80 yards away. I was able to stalk in close to the downed hog and place a second shot into the animal, which brought him to his feet. He ran another 30 yards and went down again and expired there.
This beast weighed in at over 350 pounds, being the largest boar I had ever taken. Being early in the morning, I decided to keep hunting and took a second hog that weighed 200 pounds.
I know that hunting in a fenced-in preserve is not as challenging as free-range hunting, but this was a good way to test out my new equipment on live animals. This was a great way to prepare for my upcoming western hunt, not to mention I now have a freezer full of tasty meat.