Saturday 12 Jan 2008: I did not plan on hunting, and we had a steady rain. One of my "52 Big Game Hunting Club" buddies called around lunchtime and said they had found a great set of fresh boar tracks in a decent hunting area and were assembling a hunting party. I rushed out to the woods (of course!) and we set up a track & drive with standers hunt. 3 hours later and pouring rain/sleet the boar had escaped out in the south side of the tract they were in. I had chills all night from the cold/rain!
Sunday 13 Jan 2008: I made an early start and found some reasonably fresh tracks. I was the team leader so we set up another hunt. We had only 7 hunters. 3 of us tracked and I jumped 3 medium sized does. One of our standers took one of them as part of this year's management plan. Nice day hunting but not very productive.
Saturday 19 Jan 2008: We all made a late start but were able to quickly locate fresh tracks due to an inch of fresh snow last night. With 7 hunters we set up with one tracker and 6 standers. Our morning hunt produced no animals but narrowed down the possible area the boars were sleeping in to a very small but extremely thick area. We started with a track of mixed woods 2.5km X 1.5km and narrowed it down to a smaller (800m X 600m) but with an impenetrable block of bamboo-like trees called Sassa. The afternoon hunt started quickly and the boar escaped between the standers. We regrouped and they outsmarted us again. Our third set up was not much better with one of our members making a poor shot, minor wounding a sow in the front leg. We tracked her for 2 more hours. I took a chance and moved to an area where I thought the pig might run. Luckily we almost ran into each other. I took a risky shot as she began to run away and connected, but not well. I ran about 50m to get a second shot and the pig turned and charged me. All I could think of was the story of one of our hunting members who had been charged by a boar, knocked down, and bit on his upper inner thigh! This sow was one of the full white cheeked variety (known in Japanese as Hoojiro Inoshishi) and had a pretty fierce look in her eye. My bullet struck in a cheek and turned her about 10 feet from me! A final shot ended her misery promptly.
Field dressing was done in the traditional manner in an ice cold river of water from Mount Fuji. All (and I mean ALL) of the innards were removed and cleaned thoroughly, rubbed on river rocks to remove all of their contents. We hung the pig to age for the next 3 days and will have a feast on Wednesday night! We will make a very tasty soup using all of the innards (chitterlings and more) as well as a soup made from the bones after we de-bone it and share the meat. More to follow on this process in another post (along with a recipe and photos).