Found! A Dirt-Cheap Dog Hunt For Javelina


Published: September - 1999

Fellow subscribers may be interested in a javelina hunt I have discovered in far-west Texas. It takes place on the Pope Ranch, a private 82,000-acre ranch in Brewster County south of Marathon, Texas, near the entrance to Big Bend National Park. The ranch is about 125 square miles of desert. But there is much wildlife. Far more than we expected. We saw mule deer, dove, quail, turkey and even a rattlesnake. The ranch is operated by Mike O'Neill.. He runs cattle on the ranch and is the only person authorized to conduct hunts there. Mike O'Neill and the Pope Ranch gained local prominence two years ago when an out-of-state hunter took a very special mule deer. It won first place in the Texas Big Game Awards and ranks as the largest mule deer ever killed in Texas south of Highway 90. The Pope Ranch does not have a large quantity of mule deer, but it does have some bruisers.

But let me get back to the javelina hunt I enjoyed here. It was by far the most exciting hunt I have ever been on, and very inexpensive - $550 for two days, including lodging and meals. We hunted with hounds. Until you have hunted with hounds, you have not experienced all that hunting has to offer. We began at sunrise each morning. Mike would choose four dogs from his pack. The first day we hunted with Ben, Scooter, Laura Bell and Old Tick. These dogs were black-mouth curs, a breed known for their tracking ability. Mike has trained them to run javelina. He has another set of dogs trained to run just mountain lions. The Pope Ranch has over 200 miles of ranch roads that parallel the water lines filling the many water troughs that dot the ranch. All the game, as well as the cattle, come to those water troughs.

About 45 minutes into the first morning, the dogs struck a scent. Barking, baying and yelping, they were off. Ten minutes later, we saw a flurry of dust rise from the desert floor about 200 yards from the truck.........(continued)

 
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