Krystal Campbell is a modern day cowgirl. The 23-year-old Lone Star native guides hog hunts, rides horses and hunts deer. Along with being a guide, she also does a lot of hog hunting herself, but she doesn’t always use a gun.
Krystal got her introduction to hunting when she was about three years old. Her dad took her and her older brother on a hog hunt they killed the second biggest pig in the state.
Even though Texas hog hunts are known for being wild and sometimes dangerous, Krystal was in good hands. Her dad, Jerry Campbell is a professional hunting guide and has killed countless hogs.
Krystal had her first experience behind the trigger when she killed a hog at six years old. From there she was hooked.
Since then, her appetite for dangerous game grew and she started hunting bears, mountain lions, and bobcats in New Mexico.
She killed this old bear in New Mexico in August. Her parents paid for the trip as a present after she earned her bachelor’s degree.
After a few days of hunting hard in the mountainous terrain, Krystal still hadn’t shot her bear. Time was running out and she had to get back for the start of grad school.
She opted to skip her first day of class and try for a bear one last time. The decision paid off and she killed this big old boar. “My professor didn’t look too lightly on the situation though,” Krystal said. “I got an unexcused absence.”
But that wasn’t the first time Krystal skipped something to go hunting. In high school she was almost kicked off of the cheerleading team because she skipped a game for opening day of deer season.
While Krystal loves bear and lion hunting, her bread and butter is hog hunting.
She hunts with hounds and horses. She and her dad go out and wait for the dogs to strike a trail and then follow on horseback (many times they have to go on foot when the terrain gets too rough). They use the same hunting technique on lions.
When the dogs finally have the hog at bay, Krystal moves in for the shot. She mostly uses a .357 Ruger, but sometimes she doesn’t even need a gun.
If the hog isn’t too big and the dogs have it distracted, Krystal just uses her knife. She shot this lion in New Mexico.
“You have to wait until the dogs are on them like white on rice and they’re good and distracted,” Krystal says.
For Krystal and her dad, hunting isn’t just some weekend pursuit. “It’s not a game to us, it’s something we take very seriously,” Krystal says.
And when you’re hunting dangerous game, mistakes can mean injuries or worse. Jerry has seen his share of bumps and bruises over the years and has even been gored by a hog.
But so far, Krystal has made it through all of her hunts unscathed.
“I’ve had to crawl into some pretty dangerous places, but I’ve been lucky so far,” she says.
A little Texas humor. Krystal’s dad use to own a property that had exotics on it. For awhile he had a problem with poachers driving down the road and shooting his animals. Then he put up this sign. Don’t worry, they’re joking.
But seriously, don’t mess with Texas.
Krystal’s brother with a nice buck.
Krystal is currently a graduate student at Texas A&M.
A few more of Krystal’s hunting photos.