That is the name bestowed upon a huge hog killed in 2004 by Chris Griffin on Ken Holyoaks hunting preserve. As the story goes, the hog was 12 feet long and weighed 1,000 pounds.
This sensational story circulated on the Internet and become a media sensation with about half of the interested parties screaming "hoax" and the others amazed that a "wild" boar would get so big.
As noted in my latest book "Hog Wild," this story became such a sensation the National Geographic Society filmed an investigative documentary about it and exhumed the body. Their verdict was the hog actually weighed 800 pounds and was between 7.5 and 8 feet long, which is still humongous by wild hog standards. However, they also found through DNA testing the animal was a hybrid of wild and domestic hogs, most likely a Hampshire.
This got me to thinking about the largest hogs I have seen on open range. The first was a huge sow crossing a dry creek bed in Burnet County between Austin and Llano. My father and I were headed toward our deer lease in Menard and spotted the animal just off Highway 71. We turned around to get a better look and spied the huge pig about 100 yards out climbing the creek banks then disappearing into the brush. We both agreed the hog was in the neighborhood of 500 pounds.
The second gigantic hog I saw was many years later on my old deer lease in Newton County down a highline where I had been finding absolutely huge hog tracks. While scouting one day I glassed an acquaintances deer feeder on the edge of the highline and saw a bunch of small hogs, which were probably in the 50-pound range that at that range looked like ants. Then came what looked like a jeep only it was a hog. The little ones scattered and this behemoth began feeding, which allowed me to watch him for a few minutes. Again, I would say the hog was somewhere in the 500-pound range, which among truly wild hogs is a giant.
But those hogs dont match up to Hogzilla do they?
"Monster Pig" did though. That is the name the media gave to an alleged 1,051-pound hog killed by 11-year-old Jamison Stone at Lost Creek Plantation near Anniston, Alabama. He killed the hog with a .50 caliber handgun shooting the animal eight times causing a Hogzilla-like media sensation.
As noted in detail in the chapter on giant hogs in "Hog Wild," there were holes in the story from the beginning. The scale used to weigh the animal goes in 10-pound increments so a weight of 1,051-pounds would be impossible. The fatal blow to the story came a few days later when an Associated Press story revealed the hog was not only domestic but was named, "Fred."
"Phil Blissitt said he purchased the 6-week-old pig in December 2004 as a Christmas gift for his wife, Rhonda, and they sold it to the owner of Lost Creek Plantation after deciding to get rid of all the pigs at their farm."
"He told The Anniston Star in a story Friday that the sale was four days before the hog was killed in a 150-acre fenced area of the plantation."
That "Monster Pig" was a purely domestic hog was not a surprise to me in any way. I suspected it. Hogzilla and most of the other giant hog photos circulating on the Internet hail from domestic stock. While truly pure wild hogs rarely grow larger than 500 pounds, the domestic ones can get huge if fed constantly and they are put out onto hunting ranches in Texas on occasion.
Tales of Hogzilla and other gigantic hogs are now urban legends here in Texas and beyond.
When you have a situation with giant hogs which look basically the same rather wild or domestic from the general publics standpoint and create a sensation story to go with it, you have a situation where someones pet like "Fred" aka "Monster Pig" becomes a legend.
Despite the fact this hog was verified to be purely domestic there are still (years later) chain e-mails going around about it touting it as the worlds largest wild hog. Some of this has to do with how urban legends grow, which are really the source of the stories themselves. Since they typically come in the form of an e-mail from a friend or a conversational anecdote they seem believeable. After all, your friends would not lie, would they? Maybe it is not that they are lying but the whole thing was a lie or at least an exaggeration from the beginning.
With that said, there is a chance there are some legitimate, wild monster-sized hogs roaming parts of the country due to what I call the "X-factor". Put simply, it means in nature virtually anything is possible and some hogs of Hogzilla size and larger could spring up from wild stocks.
For years scientists thought that reports of giant peccaries roaming the rainforests of Brazil were bogus but in 2007, researchers confirmed a separate subspecies that grows much larger than the collared and whitelipped variety.
Science has been wrong time and again about the size, range, life habits and even existence of certain wild creatures. All I have to say is if there is a legitimate, wild successor to Hogzilla in my future, I hope I meet it well-armed and see it before it sees me.
Chester Moores "Hog Wild: Hog Hunting Strategies, Tactics & Facts" is available for only $14.95 by calling 800-750-4678 or online at fishandgamegear.com.