Uvalde, Texas was named after the Spaniard, Juan de Ugalde. Although attempts to settle this area of Texas had been made a number of times during the 1700's, local Indians had repeatedly killed off the settlers. On January 9, 1790, Juan de Ugalde, governor of Coahuila and commandant of the Provincias Internas, led 600 men to a decisive victory over the Apaches at a place known then as Arroyo de la Soledad. In honor of his victory, the canyon area was thereafter called Caņon de Ugalde. Uvalde is half way between San Antonio and the Amistad Reservoir on the United States-Mexico border.
Our trip began with a 90 mile drive from San Antonio to Uvlade.
I was traveling with Dave Conway, John Fox, Dwayne Oswalt (not pictured) and their friends Jose and Fred.
After several days of rather lack luster deer hunting, Fred decided he wanted to hunt Russian Boar. We decided to join him.
There are no boar that were native to North America. Cortez and DeSoto introduced the boar to North America in the mid-1500's. Around the turn of the 20th Century, the Russian boar was introduced into Texas as a "to-be domesticated" stock. Shortly thereafter, the boar established its propensity not to be domesticated. Today, large numbers of wild boar encroach on the ranches throughout Texas.
The Russian Boar has become quite a nuisance in certain parts of Texas, as they are destructive to fences, ravage feeders and pester and annoy generally everything they contact.
We hunted the boar with the assistance of three dogs, a blood hound and a pair of Catahoula cross breeds. The blood hound searches for the scent of the boar and bays when it has established a scent. The cross breed chases and engages the boar and occupies its attention until the hunter is able to take the boar with rifle or pistol. The dogs are trained to release the boar and retreat as the hunter arrives to provide a clear shooting lane. This hunt was to be a pistol hunt. On this day, however, the dogs refused to retreat. In a moment of frustration, unable to find a clear lane to shoot, Fred would holster his firearm, resort to his lock blade knife and grab the boar by its hind leg and dispatch it by hand with only the assistance of his blade. As Fred clung to the squealing boar, it gnashed it tusks and snarled. By retaining a grip on its hind leg, the boar was not able to get a hold of Fred. With a quick thrust, Fred guided his blade into the vital organs of the boar and it would quickly expire. It was a sight to behold!
Having observed Fred take his boar with his knife, Dave was determined to follow suit. Clearly, common sense was abandoned in favor of testosterone and adrenaline. After his boar had treed the entire hunting party and repeatedly tossed the dogs into the air, Dave was able to get a hold of his boar and take it. After Dave's boar, we would take time to mend injuries on the dogs and give them a shot of antibiotic. These tough little dogs enjoyed the hunt, but often found themselves on the business end of the boar's tusk.
As the day progressed, each subsequent hunter would also take his boar with only his lock back pocket knife. Content to take a boar with my .44 magnum, I too would succumb to peer pressure, holster my pistol, draw my blade and take the Russian Boar with knife in hand.
After taking this large boar, we'd haul it through the thick brush, back to the dirt road.
By twilight, all but Jose had taken a boar.
After a quick dinner and gathering flashlights, Jose would re-enter to the field and take his boar with flashlight in one hand and his knife in the other. All the hunters would take a boar by knife this day, except Dwayne, who decided to stay home and watch television. Dwayne would hear about his decision to stay at the hotel for months!
After the hunt, Kevin decided to put to rest the debate whether he in fact slept through his hunter safety course.
On the flight home, John catches a moment of shut eye, while his pals rummage through his gear, drink his beer, take his snacks and generally draw into question why he would ever go anywhere with these guys.
Our guide Roy put it best when summed up our trip with,
"Not bad for a bunch of city-slickers."
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