IF THERE IS A DARK SIDE to hunting in the American South, it comes via wild hogs. No animal from Texas to Florida is more unpredictable, aggressive and, in some circumstances, downright evil.
Take, for example, the “Satan Hog”.
Back in the mid 1990s, I hunted hogs with dogs at Clarkrange Hunting Lodge in Clarkrange, Tenn.
The first morning of the hunt, we jumped up a nice reddish-colored boar with nasty tusks. I decided it was a shooter, so I found a good rest on a tree, squeezed the trigger on the .54 caliber Traditions muzzleloader, and out came the smoke.
All I could see was that something was running toward me and I assumed it was 175 pounds of tusks and rage, so I started up the tree. Thankfully, it was just one of the dogs realizing the hog was dead and its work was done.
On the way back to the cabin, the dogs jumped up another hog to which the guide said, “I think it’s the Satan hog!”
Well, that got my attention.
“Could you please explain to me what exactly is the Satan hog?” I asked.
“It’s this black boar that charges unprovoked and has killed several dogs. It almost got me once and we haven’t been able to kill it,” he said.
For some reason, I thought it might be a good idea to go photograph this hog if the dogs had it bayed up. Bad idea!
As soon as we arrived on the scene, this black hog, which was only around 150-pounds, ran straight at me, forcing me to seek refuge in a tree. I did notice it hooked as it ran by. As soon as the dogs got it again, I jumped back down and started shooting photos and got charged again. Just as I started to think this was a really bad idea, the hog took off and the dogs behind it but they soon returned. They simply could not hold the beast.
“Man, that Satan hog is something else,” I said to my guide.
“No, that wasn’t it. I’ve never seen that one before. The Satan hog is a whole lot meaner than that,” he said.
A few years back I put TF&G Bowhunting Editor Lou Marullo on a big hog in the Pineywoods of East Texas. I was in a ground blind filming just under his tripod stand and watched as his arrow went about halfway into the rib cage. I knew the hog would die but it might take awhile, so I called my Dad on the radio and he rode up from camp on a four-wheeler with his .357 Taurus.
Me being possible kin to a bloodhound as I have a natural knack for blood trailing took the gun because I would probably be the first to the wounded boar. Marullo clutched tightly his bow and Dad carried an axe handle. Marullo turned to Dad and asked what the ax handle was for.
“Better than a stick,” he said.
We soon found the hog with the arrow still in it, breathing heavily in a mud puddle. Adams(??) chose to take it out with a bow, so he drew back, released the arrow and we heard a big “Smack!”
The arrow struck bone and the hog that seemed to be on death’s door, jumped and let out a deep, guttural grunt as my hunting party of three soon changed to one. I looked to my right and my Dad, who was 60 at the time, was about 20 yards back running the other direction. I looked to my left and Marullo was nowhere to be seen. He was gone!
So, there I was standing there like Dirty Harry with this huge hog facing me at 15 yards, just knowing it was about to head my direction when it fell to the ground. It took a four-wheeler and a lot of ingenuity to get that beast back to camp and a lot of talking to convince Marullo to hunt hogs with me again.
Hogs have flat out taken over the coastal marsh in just about every section of the Gulf Coast, and waders are encountering them more frequently than ever.
Donnie Warren of San Antonio was wading a stretch of marsh in the Aransas Bay complex when he found himself between a big sow and her piglets.
“I was getting ready to cross over this little hump toward this pond, and as I was getting up from the water onto the land, here comes this huge blond-colored sow and about 10 piglets. I just stood still, hoping she would not see me, but as luck would have it, the wind was blowing right to her and she caught a whiff of me.”
“When she did, she ran out into the shallow water toward me about five steps, and I just stood still. I knew there would be no point in running. She just stood there grunting at me for a few seconds, and then turned around, joined her piglets, and walked away. I have encountered plenty of sharks while wading, but never expected to be charged by a pig.”
Just the fact these animals have the potential to rip a person to shreds makes things interesting, but when you add in their intelligence, a propensity for dwelling in hostile environments, and the follies of human hunters, things can turn exciting fast.