From the Heartland

This is my soap box, on these pages I publish my opinions on firearms and any other subject I feel like writing about.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Chain Ranch Canton, Oklahoma at Years End

It was Cold

The Sooner dawn broke crisp and cold on four inches of new snow as we loaded our gear into the truck for another annual Oklahoma hog hunt. We had arrived at the Chain Ranch the afternoon before early enough to do some scouting and glassing.

Warmed by hot coffee and some spicy homemade venison jerky Jim and I drove from high spot to high spot glassing and regaling each other with tales of hunts past and initial ideas for hunts future.
Encouraged by the size and numbers we saw by mid morning we drove back to the bunk house for more coffee and hot oatmeal. From there we elected to head to the firing/archery range the ranch has set up for guests to check sight their chosen hunting tool.

From the bench

I broke out my Mossberg SSI topped with the heavy .223 barrel and a 23 year old Simmons 3-10 power 44 Mag model telescope. Jim opened up the case on his SSI in 30-06 topped with a Leupold 3-9 power Rifleman scope. Sitting down at the bench I fired once at 100 yards and made a one windage click right to left adjustment. Since the temperature was still rather cool I allowed a only a couple of minutes between each of the next three shots for cold bore sighting. All three 67 grain hollow points formed one ragged hole at the century mark and I was good to go.

(Yes that is my M-4gery laying on the bench if the fore ground. )

While I was sighting the .223, Jim checked his ought six at 50 before moving out to 100 yards. His "Mossy" had previously been sighted in for 165 grain Remington Core-Lokts and with the 150 grain Remington Core-Lokts he was using this year it required a tad bit of windage adjustment but with 5 or 6 rounds he was dialed in as well.

Coyotes Galore

I really wasn't planning on taking a hog that early in the hunt and not with the 22 caliber barrel either. I had my 30-06 barrel along for that. It is topped with the same Leupold Rifleman scope that is on Jim's SSI thanks to Mrs Gun. She had shot his and when I removed the Simmons to put it on the .223 barrel she bought the Leupold for the ought six. I was at that point hoping for possible chance shot at one or two of the nearly out of control population of coyotes. Over the next couple of days we saw at least six during broad daylight and weren't even looking that hard. They were all several hundred yards away and and quickly increasing the distance by the time we spotted them.

After lunch we headed back out.

About mid afternoon we spotted some sizable hogs through an over grown windbreak of mature trees. They were clear on the other side of the meadow at what we estimated to be 200 yards. Taking up the only long rifle I had (.223) with me we eased through the trees to the inside of the break. Initially I only taken the rifle for a better look at them on the 10 power setting.

I figured that we had closed about 25 of the 200 yards and that was as close as we were going to get without spooking them. Luck dealt a good hand by providing a suitable shoulder height branch in just the right location. Even standing off hand this was an absolute solid rest. I decided I was going to take one of them and hand signaled to Jim that I was going shoot. Settling the cross hairs behind the right ear of the chosen one my finger eased back on the trigger.

Okay I'm going to be bragging now

Recoil with the .223 in a 10 pound rifle is virtually non-existent. When the trigger broke I watched through the telescope lens as the targeted hog immediately went down rolling over in the process. Jim kept his eye on the prostrate pig as I reloaded a single shot rifle about as quickly as a break open single shot can be reloaded ... just in case. After a minute or so we decided that a follow up shot was unnecessary and we cut back through the break to the truck. During the half mile drive around the other side of the field Jim asked me were I had aimed. With an index finger I indicated a spot behind my ear.

When we got to the hog we located the entrance point. At 175 yards standing from a solid rest that little 67 grain HP impacted within one inch of where I was aiming. There was no noticeable exit point and only pieces of the bullet were recovered when we autopsied the neck area.

A shot at that distance with a center fire twenty two is not something I would normally consider taking on a wild hog, but I had just shot that gun on the range. I know the trajectory of that round and and the remaining energy at that yardage. I also am very familiar with that firearm. It was a shot, under those conditions, I knew I could make.

Why brag about that?

All of my previous shots on hogs have been less than 80 yards. One was between 15 and 20 yards. I have done a lot of long distance shooting on firing ranges, (as in hundreds of yards) but in over 40 years of hunting all over North America and Alaska I can't ever remember taking a shot at game beyond 100 yards. Additionally I have taken several deer with bows and muzzle loaders. I had always been able to get close enough for the limitations of my equipment or they came in range of a blind.

More for another post

Jim bagged a 500 pound cow Elk the next day and before it was all over with we ended up with a late season whitetail doe as well. Since I have been back home I have processed over 60 pounds of the meat into breakfast, Italian and summer sausage. 12 pounds of elk and three pounds of fatty wild pork make a heck of a summer sausage I'll guarantee you that. The same ratio of deer and wild pork makes some of the best eating Italian sausage I have ever had as well. Thirty plus pounds of the pork was equally made into breakfast and Italian sausage.

Chain Ranch Outfitters

My family and I have been hunting on the Chain Ranch in Canton, Oklahoma for years. We do not get any freebies or discounts from my writing about our hunts there. Yes they know I write about our experiences there. On their own they discovered them on line nearly a year after I had written the first one We pay what ever the going rate is for lodging and trophy fees.

Hogs

All in all a hog hunt at the Chain Ranch is an affordable experience. It runs fifty bucks a day per person to stay in the lodge and you provide your own food. Both the lodge and the bunkhouse (which I prefer) have full kitchen facilities that include a microwave and coffee maker. Each also has its own washer and dryer.

The trophy fee for taking a hog is a flat one hundred bucks. It does not matter if it is a 40 or 400 pound animal. The Ranch also has an efficient cleaning station and meat locker. For an extra fee they will skin and quarter your harvest, or you can freely use their facility and equipment and do it yourself.

Exotics

The Ranch also has several exotic species that include a number of different species of rams, fallow deer, elk and buffalo. Trophy fees for these vary from 300 bucks on up.

Deer

They also book and guide firearm, muzzle loader and archery trophy hunts for whitetail bucks on the 100,000 plus acres they control in north west Oklahoma and south central Kansas. These hunts are a bit pricey for my wallet, but I have never been "horn hunter" so I abstain from counting my own opinion.

Birds

The Chain Ranch also offers guided hunts for waterfowl. Pheasant, Quail and Dove populate the property as well and hunters have the option of using their own dogs.



If your looking for an affordable hunting opportunity check them out. All of the contact information is on their website. Included are pictures that I have taken and freely given them permission to use on their site and in presentations that they do at Sportsman's Shows around the country.

Lastly if you would please do me a favor;

This website gets a lot of traffic (30 - 50 hits a month) directed to it from people surfing the net looking for information on hunting the Chain Ranch. If you book a hunt or just call them concerning a hunt tell them you read about it here on From the Heartland.

Thanks

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