Sunshine State Hogs: America’s Original Invasive Species

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posted on March 11, 2017
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After deer, hogs are Florida’s next most popular big-game quarry, and compared to most other hog states, the wild porkers are a close second. State wildlife managers say more than 500,000 feral swine reside there, descendants of the domestic pigs first imported by Spaniards some five centuries ago. To keep their numbers in check in a place where swampland and tropical flora give pigs a near-impenetrable refuge, the state has adopted a control strategy that allows liberal hunting seasons and bag limits.

Compared with the legions who have adopted AR-pattern semi-autos for pig hunting, Chad Schearer and I were going old-school with blackpowder rifles. Well, kind of old-school, since our CVA Accura V2s represent an evolved version of the modern inline.

Its advantages include: 1) Bergara barrels from CVA’s parent company in Spain. Top manufacturers worldwide have tapped this new source of custom-grade barrels, which can now be found on numerous hunting and tactical arms. CVA is so confident, it offers a money-back accuracy guarantee with the Accura V2. 2) Improved barrel life thanks to a nitride treatment that makes the gun as close to rustproof as I’ve ever seen. The salt bath nitride process, applied on exterior surfaces and inside the bore, effects a molecular change that hardens the steel to the point where it becomes more durable than chrome, previously the top choice for bore toughening.

I’m also keen on the Accura V2’s high-comb thumbhole stock; clean-breaking, user-adjustable trigger; and Palm-Saver ramrod. We hunted in hot, humid weather with sudden thunderstorms. Along the way the muzzleloader got drenched, and I perspired all over it. Yet there was no sign of the “orange-peel” corrosion that often pops up when gun metal is exposed to salt air and sweat, especially when blackpowder is in use. In fact my colleagues and I hold it in such high regard that an Accura V2 Nitride variant was awarded American Hunter’s 2016 Golden Bullseye for Muzzleloader of the Year.

You’ve got to like it when a new rifle piles shot after shot into a tight cluster, which is exactly what happened during our after-lunch sight-in, firing 295-grain PowerBelts over 100 grains of Hodgdon White Hots. Sight-in sessions like that don’t take long, and I was itching to head back out for a chance at a Florida double. But it wasn’t to be, as the pigs failed to show themselves that first evening as I posted up in an elevated box blind.

The next evening guide Jeff Conner decided we’d best cover more ground. After passing a neighborhood of attractive lakeside homes, we arrived at a cattle ranch and spent the evening skulking around pastures edged by cover so thick we ultimately had to crawl through it on hands and knees in order to recover the two hogs I shot. When you’re one shot and done, straight shooting with an accurate rifle is paramount. My first and third chances—both fired from good rests—went true, though in truth I botched an offhand shot on my second try. Still, it was a rewarding way to finish up my hunt by collecting two “prime-eating-size” pigs.

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