Hog Tower Geometry

By Michael Sean Kincaid

We would soon embrace our final Namibian sunset of the trip, but our enthusiasm for hunting had not waned since we arrived.  We spent the afternoon chasing black wildebeest, or gnu as our PH enjoyed calling them. And after much success we found ourselves climbing an old stone tower, once used as a grain silo perhaps, just to relax and watch the increasing game activity as the air cooled and the light began to dim. Springbok ran in the distance. A giraffe nibbled an acacia. It was almost time to pop the tops of a few Windhoek Lagers. And then Hoekus, our PH, jumped up, obviously excited.

“Look at what’s coming in!” he exclaimed.

Mikey and I both raised our binos. The massive warthog trotted through the field as if the weekend had arrived and he was heading to the bar. Its tusks were the largest we had seen, worn down on one side from digging and rooting, but massive on the other. Mikey continued to follow him with the binoculars in one hand but picked up the 7mm-08 in the other.

“If someone doesn’t take this warthog, I’m going to shoot him myself,” Hoekus stated, looking around to see who was going to claim the beast. I never grow tired of hunting warthogs, and have claimed many on previous trips, but Mikey just had one under his belt. I was happy to step aside for him. While he rarely demonstrates obvious excitement, his serious demeanor and quick movements indicated he was enthusiastic about this hog. Alternating between tracking the running animal and maneuvering into a position where he could lob a 156 grain slug into its vitals, his focus was entirely on the next steps to finish the hunt.

What I saw at this point has only made me miss my youth, and wonder if I would have done the same at his age. He dropped the binoculars, found a pillar, leaned over a wall, and brought the rifle to his shoulder. In some odd but elegant contortion, he hung out the side of this stone tower, tracking the warthog now with the scope on the rifle I had built for his mom.

Had the warthog seen us? Or something else? Perhaps it simply heard the nearby springbok. But it paused. A fatal pause. As soon as it stopped running, we heard the report. Mikey squeezed the trigger without hesitation. I looked down. What was it, about 150 yards? The heavy-for-caliber pill flipped the old bull onto its back, where it writhed briefly and then fell still. We all cheered and slapped Mikey on the back. It was an awesome shot from a precarious perch.

After walking down the steps of the tower and finding our way to the warthog, I began the obligatory deliberation on entry wound and exit.

“A bit far back, no? But you can’t argue with success,” I told him.

“No Dad, he was quartering away. You’ll find the exit forward of the offhand shoulder.”

I rolled the pig, and sure enough, the bonded slug had entered just behind the ribs, traveled through the chest, and left almost at the base of the neck. Upon dressing the animal, the massive wound channel through both lungs was obvious. My son had done well. Better than I could have done at just 13 years of age, and likely better than I would do now.

From the FE Films Archive

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