By Steven Banovic
After putting in the required amount of scouting 2 weeks ago to locate some SW Arizona Javelina, then bowhunting for Javelina all of the first weekend without any success; I received the green light from my wife (Kimberly) to continue one more weekend on my pursuit for a Javelina. Understanding that I had spent more time then most would have expected, I was able to finally shoot my Javelina at a short distance of 14 yards. I must first start off explaining that getting to this point was very interesting to say the least and it is a day in the field that will be burned in my memory for a long, long, long time.
My morning started out by traveling to a well known Javelina location with my good friend Paul. We arrived at the base of this specific mountain which had been very successful in the past years. I could have never anticipated the turn of events that would come my direction as my body is still feeling the pain from this hunt. With both Paul and I ascending up the mountainside, I grabbed what appeared to be a stationary rock. Pulling myself in an upwards position it quickly was apparent the rock was not only loose but releasing completely due to my added body weight. At the exact moment the rock propelled past me, I realized I had made a terrible decision by not pulling on the rock to confirm its stability; because I was going back down the mountainside … in a backwards roll !!!
During my first backwards rotation I concentrated on protecting my head and eyes from hitting anything along the way. Instinctively, I went into the tuck and roll position. At this exact time I was also trying to keep my bow in hand and not crash it it into any hard rock surfaces.
Second backwards rotation found me gaining momentum and driving a sizable hedge hog cactus deep into the back side of my thigh. At that point my only thought was to try and stop the backwards momentum and prioritize protecting my body over equipment. With cactus quills still penetrated into my body, instinct took over again and I desperately pushed my body from the cactus, which once again started my downward decent for my third rotation.
Finally stopping abruptly with the use of my left arm which was embedded into a barrel cactus, my arm and shoulder slammed into the rocks and cactus which then pushed the cactus out of the ground. With this cactus now being loose I some how landed right on top of it…….more OUCH!
Finally done falling I was able to stand up, shake the dust and rocks from myself, then thank God that I had finally stopped rolling down hill.
Not caring or realizing how many quills were embedded into my body I began assessing my equipment. My BowTech bow had taken a beating with many visible gouges and scratches, many like I have never seen before on a bow. The Max 4 velvet touch Camo was scratched so deep the fibers from the limb lamination were visible. I pondered if my trusty BowTech would even shoot straight after this rough fall? My Bohning quiver was completely knocked off of my bow and surprisingly not a single Victory arrow with G5 Montech broadheads deployed, thank you God! My Horn Hunter backpack had multiple areas of fabric damaged due to the sharp rocky tumble and finally my Garmin GPS with a deep scratched lens in the middle of the screen is going to be hard to read on my next trip in the field.
Now was the time to pick myself up and get back at the game in hand. Pulling quills from my hands, arms, knees and thigh, I continued with quill removal until enough of them were pulled to become refocused on heading back up the mountain. It takes waaaaaaaaaaay more then a few backwards tumbles down a mountain side and a few cacti to stop this guy!
After arriving at our glassing location I then sat in my underwear for over an hour pulling more cactus needles from my body and Scent Lok clothing. I could not believe it but I even had needles on the top of my shoulder. I guess when I rolled over so many times it was inevitable to pick up a few quills in this location. In my thigh, the main puncture area, where blood was running freely, I had over 100 puncture holes that will remind me for a long time of the pain I endured on this adventure hunt.
After rearranging myself I was ready to glass, Paul had already glassed up Javelina, giving up their location, so the pursuit for my Javelina continued.
Crossing multiple washes we then stalked to a vantage point that gave us a downward view of the location these critters were enjoying. Glassing from 80 yards away I picked out 3 Javelina holding to the same location where we spotted them 3 plus hours before. But not being able to get any closer then 40 yards, due to the steep bank and loose rocks, we had to think of another plan.
Paul decided to blow his predator call to see if we would have any luck calling the Javelina out from the thicker cover. As soon as Paul hit the call, the 3 Javelina sprinted away from us and down into a wash, just my luck? I frantically signaled with my hand to stop the calling so the sound didn’t scare them completely out of the country.
We reassessed the situation and felt it would be to my benefit if I tried to cut them off at the intersection at one of the washes that we crossed earlier that afternoon. I sprinted down the mountain as fast as I could to an area that I felt would be the Javelina’s travel corridor, at that point I began my anticipated wait.
Glassing up into the wash 5 Javelina appeared and were coming directly for my position. At that moment I realized I had just set myself up for Javelina success. Not being picky, due to the earlier circumstances; when the first Javelina got into a range of approximately 20 yards and stepped behind a very large Saguaro cactus, I drew my bow. Stopping the Javelina with a soft grunt allowed me a short 14 yard shot. The arrow completely passed through the Javelina, and it bolted off on a quick 40 yard run and expired in a garden of cacti.
This is exactly how my Saturday afternoon hunting Javelina in the Arizona desert was completed and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Except of course for my roll down and through rock and cactus. Some hunters that I have spoke to had said Javelina hunting is easy, I disagree. I want to also thank my friend Paul for all his help. It a pleasure hunting with you and I really look forward to many more great trips spent with you in the near future, even if it’s with me rolling backwards down the mountain side……LOL