This was a great year for me. Not only did I tag another javelina, I was able to spend the hunt with a first time javelina hunter. My friend ‘Red’ is a long time Arizona resident and outdoors-man who had never been on a javelina hunt before. We both drew tags for the Unit 22 HAM hunt and would be hunting with our 357 revolvers. Since Unit 22 is so close to town we decided to drive out every morning and back into town every night.
We went scouting in the area we planned on hunting about a month before the hunt. I had harvested a javelina in that area the previous year and had seen multiple herds. We did not see a lot of sign initially, and the main herd I had seen the previous year looked to have moved on. We eventually got into some sign and before we knew it were within about 20 feet of the herd. We watched them for a time, and then backed out of the area.
This was not the case opening day. We hiked, and glassed, and glassed some more, but the herd was nowhere to be found. After a full day in the field we decided to check out a new area the next day.
The next morning we hiked down into a canyon system where I had seen two or three herds. Halfway in to the ‘starting point’ we jumped a herd of about 8 javelina. They were bedded down in some tall grass, and if we had been paying better attention we would have had them. We gave chase but lost them in some think mesquite. Those were the only javelina we saw on day two.
Glassing the hills in Unit 22 for Javelina
Day three had us up in another area that I have seen several herds. On the drive in we spotted 3 javelina walking right down the road ahead of us. We parked about 150 yards behind them on a curve and made a move on foot. The javelina turned a corner into the cactus and dissipated into another dimension. We had eyes on the whole hillside with the exception of about 15 feet, and somehow they managed to get away. We spent the rest of the day glassing the hillsides hoping for some movement. We saw about a half dozen deer, but the pigs were long gone.
Day four, we hiked up into some beautiful canyons with a nice stream flowing through. We saw tons of predator tracks along the way. Bobcat, fox, coyote, bear, and even a fresh set of lion prints. Mixed in were some solitary javelina tracks, but I had a good idea of where the herds liked to hang out. A few miles in and I started glassing the hillside. I spotted two dozen javelina almost immediately and we started the long climb to reach them as they were about a mile off and at least 500 feet up.
Right as we were getting into position the herd spooked and took off up the ridge and out of site. I yelled at my friend to get up top and we raced after them. Once we got the lay of the land we knew there were only two options, they had either dropped down the back of the hill in heavy cover, or headed down a slope to the left. I actually pointed to the left slope while we were talking about the options, and found myself pointing right at a javelina about 20 yards away hiding in front of a bush.
My friend followed my gaze, and immediately drew his weapon. The shot passed right through the heart and both lungs, dropping it on the spot.
All in all there was an embarrassing number of blown stalks this year, but seeing a friend get their first javelina was something I will never forget.
Red looking down at his first Arizona Javelina
Never seen this guy look happier.