Tag Archives: pig

What’s in a Daypack?

Contributed by Alex Vail of The Flying Kayak

The hike up the snow covered mountain wasn’t by any means easy. Each step crunched as our boots sank in the snow, and the steepness of the terrain made our leg muscles burn with each step. I turned to my hunter to see how he was doing, and he was absolutely winded.

“Are you all right?” I asked as we stopped for a break.

“Yeah,” he responded, slightly out of breath. “This pack is just sorta heavy.”

I looked at his daypack and quickly realized just how much he’d overpacked. The entire pack was bulging from all the gear that was crammed into it, and it was so full that the zipper actually popped off its track. Even the kitchen sink was threatening to fall out and slide back down the mountain to the truck.

I checked myself and realized I was completely comfortable. Recently I consolidated my daypack and lightened it up quite a bit. And it was at this moment that I was extremely thankful for doing so. Optimizing weight and taking only what’s absolutely necessary is vital when out in the field. It’s definitely important to take the essentials, but by catering what’s in your pack to the activity you’re participating in can really cut down on weight and make the whole day much more enjoyable. The following are a few tips to help you optimize exactly what goes into your pack every day.

The Essentials

There are a few items that always go into my daypack regardless of what activity I’m doing. These things practically never come out. One of the most important items is your standard compass.

Hand holding a compass from his day pack

Image: Alex Vail

If you’re as good at getting lost as I am, having a compass on you at all times is a must. It’s one of those things that you’d rather have and not need than need and not have. 

Inside my pack I also always carry a small kit with basic survival items in it, such as matches, a fire starting kit, a small extra pocket knife, fishing line/hooks, and an emergency blanket. There’s also a tiny basic first aid kit that’s secured inside as well. It fits neatly in a pouch on the pack and never really leaves unless I need something inside of it.

Man's hand holding a camo first aid kit from day pack

Image: Alex Vail

Water definitely makes the essentials list as well. I don’t care how cold it is or how short the walk is every day, water is a must. It’s necessary to try and plan out about how much water you might need over the course of the day since water is quite heavy, but it’s a good idea to carry a little more water into the field than you think you might need.

Finally I consider a good knife to be the last piece of essential gear. There are so many uses for a knife that the list could go on for ages, everything from starting a fire to cleaning an animal. A knife is another must.

All the Rest

green day pack on the floor

Image: Alex Vail

Everything else that is carried in your daypack can be considered “extra” or nonessential. These things might be essential for exactly what you’re doing each day, but they aren’t things you’d necessarily need each time you went outside. It’s important to make sure you’re taking exactly what you need each day, so you must consider what activity you’re doing. Look at binoculars, for example. Are you hunting pigs in the Georgia swamps where you can’t see beyond 50 yards? Then the binoculars aren’t necessary—leave them at home. Or are you hunting mule deer in the high desert in Colorado where you can see upwards of three miles? Bring them along.

The same thing holds true for clothing, food, etc. Are you going to be walking far in chilly weather? Then put that sweater in the daypack so you don’t get sweaty while you walk. Are you only going to be out until around lunchtime? You can probably leave the cook stove and food in the truck. I’ve had some hunters insist on carrying an entire extra box of ammunition, which of course adds weight, and I didn’t stop them. But there are alternative methods to cramming that entire box into the pack. Not everything needs to go inside of it. Use an ammo sleeve for the stock of your gun, for instance. Or rather than cramming that multitool inside, slip it onto your belt and help alleviate not only the weight in your pack but also the amount of time you spend rummaging through the pack in search of one item. 

So the next time you’re getting ready to head out into the field, ask yourself, “Will I really need this today?” Do this with each item, and you may be able to lighten up your daypack considerably and make it a much more efficient, better-suited pack for the day. Your back with thank you later.

Bacon and the 7.62×39

Contributed by Alex Vail of The Flying Kayak

When it comes to hunting wild pigs, one of the first things a hunter must decide is exactly what he/she wants to hunt with. A Google search along the lines of “pig hunting rounds” will most assuredly lead to message boards with hunters arguing ad nauseam about ballistics and preferred rounds. At the end of the day, round choice comes down to personal preference, and let’s be honest—there are tons of good pig hunting rounds out there. There’s more than one way to skin a cat (or pig), and this article won’t actually delve into the different types of hunting rounds out there. Instead this will focus on my own personal favorite pig hunting round.

A dead hog and a gun atop it.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

The 7.62×39 obviously isn’t the only round that I’ve used for pig hunting, but it certainly is my favorite. It’s one of those rounds that can generally be found in surplus and is incredibly inexpensive, especially when compared to some of the other popular rounds. Many hunters praise the 7.62 because it’s generally a hard hitting, heavy round. The 7.62×39 can be found in most stores in a variety of grains ranging from the standard 123gr up to 154gr SP. There are also a few different options as far as firearms go when dealing with this round.

AK-47

An AK-47.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

Probably one of the more recognizable rifles around the world, the AK-47 fires the 7.62×39 and is a an excellent choice for a pig gun. Most carry the standard 30 round magazine, which comes in handy because a hunter rarely only gets one shot when dealing with pigs. A relatively short rifle, the AK is perfect for dragging around in the thick brush that pigs often inhabit. Its size also makes for quick target acquisition, which is helpful when firing at multiple running pigs. One of the few cons is that it isn’t the most accurate rifle when shooting over longer ranges.

SKS

An SKS.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

The SKS is what I personally carry most often when pig hunting. It has a standard 10 round non-detachable magazine and is considerably longer than its AK cousin. This means that downrange accuracy is a bit better. With enough practice, it isn’t out of the question to take shots up to 400 yards away and expect to down a pig. There are also a wide range of aftermarket stocks for the SKS that can allow a hunter to easily add scopes, foregrips, optics, and detachable magazines. The same actually holds true for the AK.

Mini-Thirty

A Mini-Thirty.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

Coming late to the scene in 1987, the Ruger Mini-Thirty is the last of the common 7.62×39 rifles that I would consider using to hunt wild pigs. An extremely short and light rifle, the Mini-Thirty commonly sports a 20 round magazine (though a five round magazine is offered for states where magazine restrictions are in place). With it being a very lightweight rifle in comparison to is counterparts, it does have a slightly greater muzzle rise when firing. However, just like the AK-47 and the SKS, there are a wide range of aftermarket parts available for the rifle that can easily turn it into exactly what a hunter wants to use.

Obviously picking out what rifle you want is an important step, but a much more important thing to consider when hunting with the 7.62×39 comes down to an actual hunting issue: shot placement. Wild pigs are extremely tough animals. Thick hide, gristle, and bones make firing an ethical kill shot quite challenging. I’ve personally seen big boars run off like nothing happened after getting hit in the chest with much bigger rounds, like the 30-06 or the .458 SOCOM. The trick to effectively hunting pigs (with ANY round) boils down to shot placement.

Their shoulders are extremely thick and essentially act as a protective shield around their vitals. A pig’s organs are also arranged slightly differently than other animals, such as a deer. Their vitals are a bit more compact and tucked away behind the shoulder when looking at a broadside profile of the animal. This means that in order to effectively harvest a pig, one must wait for a suitable shot. Quartering away shots are ideal as the round can easily get past the protective shoulder plate and into the vitals. The same goes with shots quartering toward the hunter. Just remember that shots like this tend to travel through the animal, hitting the guts and making a big (and smelly) mess. Head and neck shots are also ideal. Pigs actually have a very large skull, and once a hunter has shaken the habit of instinctively aiming at the chest, head shots are extremely effective. For shot placement, draw an imaginary line from the back of the eye toward the body then draw one straight down from the ear—where these lines intersect is where the shot needs to be placed.

So if you’re in the market for a new rifle to hunt pigs, consider picking up one that’s chambered in 7.62×39. It’s often overlooked as a sufficient hunting round, but its effectiveness cannot be denied. Just remember proper shot placement when hunting pigs, and be sure to check your local and state laws concerning magazine capacity for harvesting game animals. And as always, happy hunting!