After a good night of regenerating our bodies inside the womb of the Lady Buffalo II (the EPIC van), we awoke before dawn to embark upon one final day of hunting. Today would be our last chance to hunt one of these invasive animals and the next 10 hours of hunting would put our mental fortitude to the ultimate test. If we were successful, we would be returning home with enough meat to feed our friends and family for a long time.
Similar to the day prior, the morning was uneventful. The wild pigs continued to evade us. By the appearance of new tracks and freshly tilled land, the drove of pigs had feasted all night and decided to lay low. Leading into the evening, our acclimation to the ecosystem had peaked and we had become better at listening to our instinct. Yesterday we had entered the Hill Country with the mentality of being a predator, however going into the evening, we embraced the strategy to think like a wild boar. The animals that we had been chasing had shown us their patterns, preferences, and habits. It is an amazing feeling to connect physically and spiritually with the very pigs we are hunting. This ancient bond between predator and prey activated my own deeply encoded genetics which created a feeling of presence and holism that tethered us to the surrounding ecosystem. It was crystal clear to me that we were participating in something very special and transformative.
As evening approached, our lead scout Robby walked out into the woods at around 4pm. His plan was to arrive exceptionally early to his blind and sit perfectly still for however long it would take. Robby’s ability to find a pig was our greatest opportunity to have a successful hunt. The rest of our hunting party set out to separate areas of the property at around 6pm. Within minutes of hiking to our hunting blinds we heard a rifle shot in the distance. My first thought was “No way did Robby just shoot a boar. Must have been a distant neighboring property." It was unbelievably early in the evening and we didn’t expect the animals to start coming out until 7:30pm. I stopped hiking and checked my cellphone to see a group text from Robby which simply stated “We got one!”
Before rendezvousing at Robby’s hunting blind, we stopped by the cabin to pick up the indestructible 1978 Jeep Renegade CJ-7 to transport the pig from field to cleaning station. When we pulled up to the blind Robby was smiling ear to ear. After high fives and fist bumps Robby said, “ Its not the biggest pig, but its a good one!” As we approached the boar we were excited to see that Robby had harvested a beautiful adolescent male around the age of 3 years. Unlike his domesticated counterpart, this wild animal was built like a tank, healthy, muscular, and one of the cleanest wild hogs we had ever seen. Robby reenacted his hunt for us and after patiently stalking the drove of 20 pigs decided to take a shot at the perfect animal. By lowering his heart rate and slowing his breathing, Robby pulled off an instant kill shot from 100 yards away. Without suffering the animal immediately fell to the earth with fresh forage still in its mouth.
We had ended the life of a healthy and happy male boar and that comes with a heavy sense of responsibility. Being mindful and present in this moment was very important to everyone within our group. It overwhelmed my heart with gratefulness and a desire to honor the harvested animal.
Within 30 minutes of the fatal shot, we had returned to the cabin and began field dressing and butchery. In order to honor the entire animal, we worked relentlessly and with the haste of rejuvenated spirits. The Texas heat is hazardous to raw meat and our efforts to break apart the animal and put it inside a fridge were of critical importance. Within an hour we had quartered out the entire hog and started transporting the fresh meat inside the cabin. To my amazement, the majority of the meat was still contracting and twitching muscle fibers reminded us of that we were dealing with an entire different definition of “fresh”. The ancient process of animal butchery transported our team into a meditative flow state in which we felt extremely connected to a much larger ecosystem. At the end of the night we packed out over 100 pounds of organ meat, muscle meat, fat, and bones. The inedible guts and hide were taken out into the meadows and fed to coyotes, vultures, and other scavenger animals. In a nose to tail approach, every last bit of this animal was used.
Experiencing this level of traceability with my food is absolutely profound. A dramatic Texas Hill Country hunt that ended with the harvesting of a wild boar, we successfully converted a destructive invasive species into nourishing food. With the ultimate level of “knowing your meat” we could trace how this animal lived, died, and was processed. Each step was consistent with my own values as well as our innate evolutionary hunting instincts. Respect, honor, and gratitude towards nature was practiced during every moment of our hunt.
Through this adventure I am able to practice what I preach and be consistent with the founding principles of EPIC Provisions; "Feed others as you wish to be fed" has never meant more to me and we are unbelievably excited to scale our hunt and create an EPIC bar made exclusively from 100% Texas Wild Boar. With the addition of our new Wild Boar Bar, we are able to successfully convert ecosystem destroying animals into healthy sources of protein and fat. Our solution in combating the spread of wild boar throughout the state of Texas is to create market driven incentives for ranchers to capture these animals for meat production. Its an epic sized idea that can inspire real change in how we form public policy and think about food chains holistically. Lets continue to think outside the box and explore systems that have the potential to create a positive return on the land, health of consumers, and the viability of rural agriculture.
To try our new Wild Boar Bar, head to epicbar.com and order yours today. Each order casts a vote for sustainable meat production as well as the conservation of rural ecosystems.