The brush popped as footfalls sounded in the forest.
As I flipped on my Generation 3 night vision goggles, a low grunt sounded from the direction of the footfalls. Just down the narrow fire lane was a large black blob headed my way.
As it got closer, it became obvious the blob was a hog, and it was not just any hog. It was a genuine monster.
A month earlier while driving by a high line right of way a half-mile away I saw a bunch of small hogs at a feeder. I stopped and pulled out my binoculars to get a better look.
A half dozen or so 50- to 60-pound hogs began running in circles and then fled the scene.
Out of the brush came what looked like a Buick. A wide, tall, long, black, furry Buick.
It was the biggest hog I had ever seen.
Years earlier my father and I saw a giant spotted hog crossing a dry creek bed in Burnet County. This one was bigger.
Now what I was pretty sure was the same hog was walking in my direction. I was positioned 40 feet up a tree in a climbing treestand so I was not too worried about getting busted, but the hog knew something was up. It came to the bait pile below for a few seconds and then turned before presenting an opportunity.
How big was this hog?
Without exaggeration, it was in the 500 pound class. And I do not take that estimation lightly. Frequently, people post hog photos on social media, claiming their kills were 400-500 pounds when in reality those are usually 250-350 pounds.
And those are nothing to sneeze at.
The biggest hog I have ever killed was 325 pounds, and it was taken about 12 years ago near Mason. A 300-pound hog is a huge animal.
In fact, the average adult black bear in the United States is around 300 pounds. For comparison the average grizzly which we think of as hulking monsters is in the 600-pound class. The hog I was looking at was 200 pounds larger than an average black bear and 100 pounds or less smaller than a typical grizzly.
In all the talk about hogs, this is something that never gets addressed. In Texas and everywhere else that feral hogs roam, individuals larger than bears are roaming the woods. Burgeoning numbers of feral hogs have become synonymous with destruction of habitat. Some however have a burgeoning size issue.
In last month’s edition, I wrote about “Hogzilla” and other hogs that caused a media frenzy and which turned out to be domestic stock. In at least one case it was so domestic that it had a name and was put on the hunting ranch just before the hunter shot it.
What I am talking about now is hogs on free range—giant hogs—What I call “Monster Hogs.”
At Kingdom Zoo we have created a “Monster Hog” database at www.monsterhogs.com. The idea is to log as many giant hogs that are captured on game cameras and killed by hunters.
Some of the photos you will see are stunning. The bulk of the photos are from Texas. They show huge hogs from the Post Oak Savannah to the Pineywoods, and from the Rio Grande to the Oklahoma state line.
Truly big, mature boars are in my opinion one of the hardest game animals to kill with standard methods. Sure you can chase them with dogs, which is a dangerous and challenging proposition in its own right. Or you can employ thermal imaging scopes and night vision to snipe them in fields at night. Both are super cool.
However, if you were limited to methods for hunting whitetails, these monster hogs would be virtually impossible to kill on free range. Hunters routinely take big bucks they see on a game camera. How many can say they have been able to kill the truly big boars they see on the same camera?
These extremely wary creatures become nocturnal at the slightest sign of hunting pressure. Their propensity to travel great distances makes patterning them futile in most cases.
So, what is a monster hog?
I call anything over 300 pounds, a big hog; 400 plus pounders, giants; and anything 500 and above, monsters.
And they are if you think about it.
An animal the size of a grizzly that has giant, razor sharp tusks, is smarter than your hunting dog and has not only the ability—but sometimes the will—to lash out, is a monster.
In the next few issues we will celebrate the pursuit of monster hogs with articles, tips and a celebration of big hogs killed by TFG readers and the ones they captured in photos on game cameras.
We will also be posting Kingdom Zoo TV segments featuring my personal pursuit of these monsters on film. You can watch these on our Kingdom Zoo Roku Channel and get exclusive clips at fishgame.com.
“Like” our Facebook page so you can get updates. Look for exclusive giveaways of autographed copies of my book Hog Wild and other cool hog related merchandise.
I have always been fascinated with monsters and there is no question some roam the dense thickets, expansive marshes and dark forests of Texas. We are now officially in search of them and will not stop until we get an up close and personal encounter with monster hogs.
Stay tuned. Things are about to get interesting.
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