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- Review and Experience -

Trophy Ridge Hunting Preserve in New Berlin, NY.
N 42.63754 W 75.39974
http://www.trophyridgehunting.com/about.htm

I don't have the time I used to have pre-child and I'm a single dad. I used to hunt a lot. I envy and respect you guys who can hunt as much as you do and live in the heart of great game country.

I want to share this with the AT community for those who may want – but not be able – to devote the time and get to good hunting ground.

Preserve hunts aren't for everyone – but they have their place.

It's winter school vacation week here. My 10 year old and I visited Trophy Ridge Hunting Preserve this Wednesday to shoot pigs. It's about a 6 hour drive from home so we packed the dog and got a room at the Super 8 in Norwich for a couple of nights. They are dog friendly.

My background: I floated the Yukon River in Alaska for bear & moose, bear in Alberta, antelope in Wyoming, mule deer in Washington, whitetail from Maine to Texas, and lots of critters in between. I always hunted unguided and no outfitting except in Canada as required and when the “guide” didn't show up on time we stole the outfitter's Suzuki Samurai and left them in the dust ..........

But not so much anymore. Hell, I've got a cabin on 50 acres in central Maine with lots of game – but I haven't been to in three years.

Trophy Ridge is a good place.

Joe Warren and his family run Trophy Ridge. I called him and a number of other preserves from Tioga [where I hunted pig 20+ years ago] to Vermont.

I shopped price mostly – but also required as fair chase atmosphere as possible. I wasn't interested in a “trophy” boar – or any hand-holding. I don't think there's any such thing as a trophy from a preserve hunt and don't want the hand holding. I wanted a fair, clean and exciting experience for my boy.

Joe Warren struck me as a fair and honest guy. He said he'd be working that day but his dad would be around with an ATV or tractor to help out. We needed to gut our game and get it to a tote road.

I checked out the aerial and topo maps for Trophy Ridge and liked what I saw. The farm is about 150 acres. The hunting area is about 40 acres fenced with standing fir, small orchard, open hardwood, stream, some hollows and pasture - on a north slope. It's a really pretty piece of land.

On the Monday before our hunt they put two pigs out. They were yearling boar and 100 lbs +/-. But I didn't know that until after the hunt.

On Wednesday we arrived around 8:30AM. We settled with Joe's father Ed and he led us to the gate across the road and down behind the barn.

We had the place to ourselves. 4" - 8" snow on the ground. It was windy with some snow squalls in the mid 20's. It took us about an hour before we caught a glimpse of pigs 80 yards away in thick fir and they were moving fast and away from us.

When I saw that - I figured we had a reasonable hunt ahead of us. We cut the track and followed it a ways. It looked like several pigs to me - but they must have been following the same trail used earlier that morning - only this time faster – I didn't know there were only two pigs out.

Anyway, I sent my boy back to a raised blind we saw earlier that had pig tracks nearby. I figured I'd keep on the track and push them past the blind. I gave my boy the Leoupold range finder to take with him.

I still hunted the tracks and saw 2 boar about 1/2 hour later and got close - like 30 feet - in thick stuff - and waited for a shot. The smaller pig presented a good broadside and the arrow went where I wanted - but it was not the right spot. The 100 grain Thunderhead buried just behind of where it should have been and did not exit. I was surprised. I got another shot - but only had the upper body – spine visible. I took the shot and hit it hard- but it didn't penetrate far enough. As the pig blew away it snapped that shaft off clean. The other shaft bobbled back and forth as the pig ran through the brush.

I waited a while then tracked them far enough to know the injured boar wasn't going to die soon. So I radioed my boy and had him meet up with me. We got on the tracks w/ a spotty blood trail and it started snow squalling again. I thought we might lose the track.

After a while we spotted the two boar and pulled a sneak - again within 10 yards. The wind was squirrely and they caught our scent but didn't know where it was coming from - but were alerting and grunting. We could see the boar I wounded - he still had an arrow sticking out of him.

My boy drew on him and popped him in the heart with a 100 grain 1 ½ inch Rage three blade. The pig circled for 10 seconds and dropped dead. The arrow penetrated fully, exiting the off side by several inches. Wish I could have done that!

We went and collected the second boar after field dressing my son's kill. After my son's anatomy lesson I did a better job.

When we were ready I radioed Ed Warren and he collected the boar with his tractor.

Trophy Ridge is a nice operation with good people.
 

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