Late Night Hog Hunt Using Crimson Trace Laser Sights
Lucas Cooney 06.21.17
As the editor of AllOutdoor.com’s sister site ATV.com, I was lucky enough to secure an invitation to a Honda event in southwest Texas. In addition to riding the new Honda Pioneer 1000 and 1000-5 LE UTVs, we had a chance to do some late night hog hunting with some very cool equipment from Crimson Trace and Smith & Wesson.
After flying into San Antonio, we were driven a couple hours west to Ox Ranch, an 18,000-acre hunting ranch loaded with both native and non-native species, including bison, ostrich, kangaroo, and dozens of others. Everything, save for the giraffes, is available to hunt if you’ve got a deep enough wallet.
While trophy hunting in a high fence ranch like this isn’t for everybody, the ranch itself if stunning. Just having the opportunity to drive the Honda Pioneer around the property and seeing animals I’ve never spotted outside of a zoo was a pretty remarkable experience. And the guest houses at the Ranch are top notch. It would be a great place to stay and explore, armed with nothing more than a camera.
Luckily, Smith & Wesson made sure I had more than a Nikon with me. Specifically, I was handed a Performance Center by Smith & Wesson M&P 10 rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, which carries an MSRP of $2,035. This rifle features a threaded muzzle, two-stage match trigger, Magpul MOE rifle stock and two-inch aluminum M-LOK accessory rail.
As we were going to be hunting well into the night, the rifle was outfitted with the LNQ-100G LiNQ Wireless Green Laser Sight from Crimson Trace. I have limited firearm experience (ATVs and archery get most of my attention), so this was my first experience with a laser sight of any kind and I was giddy at the opportunity to play with it.
We were taken to a gun range to get everything sighted in and become comfortable with both the rifle and the laser sight. The actual laser was mounted to the rifle’s rail, while the button to activate it was installed on the grip below the trigger. Turning on the laser was as straightforward as squeezing your middle finger.
When it came time to get ready to go hog hunting, the folks at Ox Ranch handed me a helmet weighed down by a set of military-spec night vision goggles. According to the Ox Ranch website, these are the same type of night vision goggles used by Seal Team Six when they took out Bin Laden!
Night vision goggles were another first for me and I was like a kid with a new toy when I put them on. I couldn’t believe how clearly I could see in pitch black darkness. Still, it felt weird to load up the Honda Pioneer 1000-4 LE and set off in the dark with no lights on (the driver was also wearing the night vision goggles).
One of the most surreal moments of my entire life was driving a Pioneer through a tower of giraffes in the middle of the night while holding onto a rifle.
When we drove up on our first group of hogs, I was late to react and wasn’t able to get a good shot off. I’m far from a firearm expert, and taking aim as the Honda Pioneer came to a quick halt was more difficult than I’d expected.
Fortunately, the driver eventually found another sounder of feral pigs and I was able to settle myself down enough to squeeze off a good shot and take one down. We loaded the pig into the bed of the Pioneer and headed back to home base.
As an avid archer, I also tried my hand at bow hunting for a hog with my Prime Centergy Hybrid during daylight hours. Ox Ranch had a turkey target to practice on, but that was the only thing I was able to send an arrow into during this trip. I have yet to shoot a hog with a bow, so I’ll need to make my way back down south to do some more feral hog hunting so I can scratch one more thing off my bucket list.
When we weren’t out hog hunting, we were checking the Ox Ranch property in the Pioneer 1000 LE and 1000-5 LE models. I just picked up a pair of Wolverine Claw Durashocks hunting boots and wore them all week all around the property. These are the most comfortable hunting boots I’ve ever worn and they served me well while driving the Pioneer and exploring the area on foot. The boots are also waterproof, and I tested that out by standing in a stream for a few minutes without getting soaked. I haven’t put enough miles on the boots to see how they last long term, but early impressions are quite good.
I’ve driven the Pioneer 1000 LE models before and was happy to get back behind the wheel. This particular model is the best one Honda makes and is far and away the most comfortable. If I wanted to get a Honda UTV for work and play, this would be the one. You can do without the added expense of the LE model on a pure work machine, but I want that soft suspension for trail rides or just when I want to get out and take it for a rip.
This whole experience was a heck of a good time. The Ox Ranch property is amazing and having a chance to ride UTVs in the dark while wearing night vision goggles and hog hunting is an experience I won’t soon forget.