The Lake Uno Mas Hog Hunt by Randy Rowley


On a Friday evening in April, 12 friends, four sons, and I left Austin for an FCS hog hunting and work weekend at the 10,000 acre Uno Mas Ranch.  The agreement was to hunt on Saturday in exchange for work on Sunday.  We arrived at Artesia Wells four hours later.  We only had 15 miles of dirt roads to travel to reach the ranch.

Unbeknownst to us, the area had gotten heavy rain, and the dirt roads were now mud.  Paul Wilson’s Ford Ranger hit a big puddle within a mile, drowning it out, followed by several vehicles getting stuck, and missing our turn three times.  Randy Slagle’s four-wheel-drive Chevy Z71 pickup truck with off-road tires pulled the stuck vehicles out, which took a lot of time, as he had to unhitch his trailer, pull a stuck vehicle out, and re-hitch his trailer.

Four hours later, at 3:00 AM, Kevin Font’s Chevy Suburban got stuck to both axles.  Most of the group decided to camp next to Kevin’s SUV, but Paul and I decided to look for the ranch.  We thought we found it but were unsure, so we camped on the side of the road by our vehicles.

The main caravan’s men freed Kevin’s SUV at daybreak and continued their trek, but Steve Watkins’ truck got stuck after a mile.  Meanwhile, Paul and I found the ranch and then went back to the main caravan to lead them to it.  We decided to abandon four of the two-wheel-drive vehicles on the side of the road and shuttle the men and equipment the remaining four miles to the ranch in the two four-wheel-drive vehicles – Randy’s Chevy and my Jeep Cherokee.

We arrived at the ranch around 11:00 AM, unpacked, ate lunch, and rested.  Around 1:00 PM, we began to scout and put out corn.  I took first-time guests Tim and Jesse Price with me in my Jeep.  I left my rifle back at camp because the ranch hand told us we wouldn’t see any hogs until dusk.  Tim and Jesse had the foresight to bring their rifles along.

As we were scouting, we saw several dark animals in an oat field about 200 yards ahead.  Our binoculars revealed a herd of about 30 adult hogs and several piglets!  Tim offered to loan me his 1911 .45, but I had no confidence that I could hit a hog so far away with it, so I declined.

We stalked up to about 100 yards from the pigs, who were happily grazing, and oblivious of our presence.  Tim and Jesse knelt by a wooded sign and used it as a rifle rest.  I ensured they picked out different hogs.  They agreed to fire on the count of three.  I softly counted.  On “Three,” there was a simultaneous Kaaaaabooooooom!  Pandemonium ensued with hogs running in every direction!

Some of the hogs ran in front of Randy Slagle’s Chevy, and a couple of the hunters in its bed got off shots.  We looked for blood but couldn’t find any.

Later, after we took the hunters to their stands, we finally had success.  Keith Miller killed a 210-pound boar 120 yards away with a lung shot.  Kevin Font killed a boar slightly smaller than Keith’s with a 200-yard plus headshot.  He also killed a 100-pound sow with a 198-yard neck shot.  Hunters missed two other hogs.

We ate dinner and began to fall asleep around 11:00 PM.  However, we were awakened around 2:30 AM by an approaching thunderstorm.  We decided to get the heck out of Dodge and quickly packed.

Due to limited seating, some men had to wait at the ranch with some of the equipment for later pick up by Randy’s Chevy.  They didn’t try to bring my Jeep back after they got it out, as with its street tires, it was almost as useless in the slop as a two-wheel-drive vehicle.  At 8:30 AM, Randy’s Chevy made it back to the ranch, and that was only because Larry Dowden had helped by pushing it the last two miles.  We feared that we would be stuck there for a week while the road dried out, so we left much of our equipment at the ranch.  We also left Randy’s trailer on the side of the road, as its wheels stopped turning and it became impossible to pull.

As we headed out on the final trip, Randy’s Chevy started to slip off the muddy dirt road.  Four of us got on the other side of a barbed-wire fence and pushed Randy’s Chevy to keep it from sliding into it.  We finally made it to the highway around 11:00 AM.  The entire journey from the ranch to the highway took over eight hours.

Incredible as that sounds, it was only by God’s protection that all seven vehicles were able to make it out of the slop (although Steve Watkins’ truck would only run in low gear, and my Jeep’s differential went out a few months later).

It’s a good thing that we left when we did because the storm dumped around two inches of rain.  If we hadn’t left, we probably wouldn’t have made it out for a week.  None of the seven vehicles escaped from being stuck during the weekend.  Yet, no one got mad, cursed, displayed a bad attitude, or attacked anyone else throughout this ordeal.  We were all disappointed, but outward sin was absent.

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The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.