225-pound wild hog

Cooper Wright, age 11, recently shot a 225-pound wild hog in Bosque County.

Clint Hood photo

When I was a kid back in the 70s, there were two things society taught us to be wary of — Russians and killer bees.

And while only one of those threats eventually panned out, there are plenty of menaces out there.

If you stay within the confines of a decent-sized metropolitan area like Waco or Austin, you might never have any reason to believe wild hogs even exist. But if you venture out of the city limits and into the woods and fields of Central Texas, there’s a growing chance you’ll at least lay eyes on the damage they can do. (Incidentally, wild hogs are descended from Russian boars that were imported into Texas in the 1930’s for sport hunting.)

Recently, 11-year-old Cooper Wright was hunting on his Grammy’s land near Valley Mills with his grandfather, Clint Hood, and friend Zach Huser. “We were wanting Zach to get a doe, and about four that afternoon, a handful of sows and a bunch of piglets came around the feed corn that had been soaked in red Kool-Aid,” said Hood.

“We didn’t want to spook off any deer, so we didn’t shoot them, but about thirty minutes before dark, a couple of boars came around and Cooper took one,” he said. “The pigs surely are keeping the deer away, as well as making big mud wallows underneath the feeders.”

Hood says his family gets to do a lot of hunting, and Cooper is a seasoned shooter even at his young age, having taken a number of game animals, varmints, waterfowl, and other critters. He hunts with his dad Chris, twin sister Carli, uncle Chase Hood, and grandpa Larry Raborn as well.

“Carli is still trying to get a doe,” Hood said, “but as soon as youth season ends, we’re going to build some hog traps.”

Catchin’ the limit and more

Lake Whitney striper guide Clay Yadon (817-219-3707) continues to take daily chunks out of the striped bass population, saying the bite is “off the dial kind of good.”

He’s finding big schools of stripers stacked from surface to bottom in anywhere from 15 to 60 feet in depth. “We’re finding them where we find them,” he said, adding that weather fluctuations have a big influence on where fish can be found. “It’s a challenging time of year, but you can look for signs and use them to your advantage.”

One of those signs is finding where the birds are. “When you locate a group of birds, you can bet there will be a school of fish nearby,” he said. “They don’t even have to be swirling or diving — they could just be looking around or even sitting on the water.

When high winds haven’t kept him off the lake, he has been catching his limit plus some. “It’s a great time for catch-and-release, and we have been doubling up our limits on some days,” Yadon said. He advises using soft plastic swim baits for best results.

With water temps dropping, the water itself becomes denser and carries sound more efficiently, making stealth an important factor in fishing success. “I can’t stress enough how quiet you have to be,” said Yadon. “Don’t try to drive in and then look around with your graph, because you won’t mark any fish. They’ll run out from under a big motor before you can shut it off. A big motor is the kiss of death.”

He says to cut the engine upwind and drift into the hot zone, adding that even a trolling motor will sometimes scatter a school. “Plus, when it’s this cold, you have to fish excruciatingly slow. If you think you’re fishing too slowly, then slow it down a little more.”

Brotherly thought

I’ve fished with my brother Derek since we were able to walk around without falling into the water, and I’m happy to congratulate him on another successful trip around the sun.

Happy birthday and let’s go fishin’.

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