column By: Lee J. Hoots | September, 18
Twenty or more years ago, I recognized benefits of being the editor of a hunting magazine that reached beyond a paycheck or the simple act of hunting deer, elk or whatnot in new and interesting country. Trent Swanson’s “Brush Creek Bomber” feature in this issue served as a reminder. Over time, editors get to know their contributors on a somewhat personal level, but Trent became a buddy long before he started writing features for Successful Hunter.
Back when I hauled my family to northwest Arizona, he proved to be a very gregarious and generous fellow who freely offered advice on where to hunt. Trent eagerly showed me where a goodly number of doves could be found in the high desert country north of town. Above 6,000 feet, we flushed them off windy ridgelines covered in dry grass during a year when precious little rain had pooled in stock tanks or natural depressions.
Trent grew up in Colorado, and once he and his wife had their first child, they returned to the Rocky Mountains to be closer to family. At the same time, he landed a job in the shooting/hunting industry that allowed him to spend more time in the field and take his writing a little more seriously.
Without revealing too much, “Brush Creek Bombers” is a “never give up” tale. It’s also a unique look at two hunters-turned-friends who worked through a difficult situation.
In reality, hunts do not always end as they should. Sometimes this is due purely to poor luck. Other times it’s equally due to poor effort. In addition, there are those rare and unpredictable moments that cannot be explained.
For example, while hunting feral hogs with a friend years ago, two days of glassing and hiking revealed only old sign. One evening, just before sunset, we found a lone sow feeding in a steep, shallow draw hemmed in above by a thick grove of oaks. We figured a good shot would send the pig down toward an open grass pasture where it could easily be recovered.
Hogs have little trouble running uphill when mortally wounded, but both of us, with decades of combined experience, counted on the sow running downslope because we had seen it happen time and again. So at a distance of something less than 200 yards, a FailSafe bullet punched through its shoulder, the best place to shoot a big hog in most cases.
To our chagrin, the pig ran uphill into the thickest patch of oak trees. Wounded hogs (yes, even sows) can be troublesome, so in the fading light, a decision was made to trail the pig in the morning. It was found easily enough, but it had been nearly completely consumed, probably by a bear, and finished off by coyotes. Strangely, however, there was no sign of predators – no indication whatsoever as to what exactly happened. It goes to show that things do not always go as planned.