Peccary Hunting Part 47

By Patty Wilber

Really, Part 7– five scouting and two hunting.

This time, we crossed the Rio Grande on a railroad bridge.

Frankly, I found that a bit nerve wracking.  The bridge ties are fairly close together so danger of falling through is minimal, but I could, maybe, manage to wedge my leg in there just right and be frantically stuck as the train barreled down.

Could I lie low enough to avoid having my head bashed in?  Would my backpack be just that much too high?

Ok Ok! Not falling through, not getting irretrievably wedged, but if the train were to come, could I run forward and off in time?  Or would I have to jump?

Breathing fast after that 50 yard walk.  I mean, a lot could have happened!

But we made it. Whew!

We followed the train tracks south for several miles.

Hiking on the tracks is a lot easier than slogging through the sandy soil on the east of the river.  Except that it is illegal.  It is also, we found out, somewhat frowned upon to carry loaded weapons while trespassing along the tracks.

Following the tracks.

Following the tracks.

Electric wires used to follow the tracks.  These are old insulators. They were too high to remove.

Electric wires used to follow the tracks, too. Probably that was the easiest way to build and maintain them when most of the land was a trackless wilderness.  These  blue glass  insulators were too high to “collect”.

We saw a javelina while trespassing while armed. Unfortunately, it was dead.

The tracks are fenced with 5-strand barbed wire, but animals can get in.  They usually get out, too, but this  javelina was decapitated. It was the only fatality we observed, thankfully.

Peccaries are pretty smelly due to the large scent gland they have on their backs. (I did a histology study in grad school at TX A&M on the glands…they begin to function at about 20 days of age and have several types of secretory tissue.)

Week-dead peccaries also stink.  The dead-ness completely masks the musk and is due to degradation of tissue by microbes that produce aromatic gasses such as cadaverine and putrescine.

We frequently left the rail bed to explore dry washes and rock formations, looking for bedding sites and what the heck, live peccaries would have been nice. We did not see a single human foot print, but the sand was a newspaper of detail. Not trackless at all! Fox, coyotes, quail, lizard, peccary, deer, a few elk and my personal favorite, kangaroo rats,  all made impressions.  We also saw scat.  More on that later.

Kangaroo rats have burrows with horizontal entrances.  And always lots of evidence of use!

Kangaroo rats have burrows with horizontal entrances. And always lots of evidence of use!

We sat for a spell at the river,

The Rio Grande

Jim at the Rio Grande

then marched onward another couple miles.

We crossed fences,

Over some and under others.

Over some and under others.

came across an old stone house, which might have been associated with Ft. Craig,

A two room structure

A two room structure

climbed up lava fields,

018

and re-located the peccary bedding site we found last trip.

Poop!

Poop!

There was fresh scat.

Still, no live peccaries.  So, we dozed there for an hour, and hiked the longish five miles back to the railroad bridge.

Daily horseback riding does not prepare one for 10+ miles of gun-toting-sand-slogging-tie-walking.  I was sore.

For our next try, we might wade across the river in the mid-afternoon at the site of the great canoe crossing.  The river will be lower in mid-March due to the start of the irrigation season and that spot is about a 1/2 mile from the bedding site.  We could set up in the rocks with our binoculars and wait until dark, with the hope that our silent observation will allow those javelina to show themselves.

I am not that great at waiting like that.  My knees cramp.  My back gets stiff.  I get bored. I might bring a book. And a chair! Great hunter that I am.

*****************************

The next day we rode with the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen at Cerrillos Hills State Park.  No guns allowed there.  No peccaries present either (too far north).  Lacey and LT say “hi”!

 

 

About BlogPatty

Here's the skinny: I have a thing for horses. They make sense to me. I have a small horse training business (it's a "boutique" training business, not because it's super fancy, but because the horses get a lot of personal attention). I also go by Dr. Wilber, and teach biology full-time at a Central New Mexico Community college.
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1 Response to Peccary Hunting Part 47

  1. Doranna says:

    Adventuresome you!

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