I wasn’t feeling any pain, yet. I was numb and enraged in my adrenaline high, still feeling the sharp sting of fear and anger.
There I was, flat on my butt in a prickly pear cactus with a 10mm auto pistol in my hand and a dead boar lying on my feet. Five seconds ago, I was bowhunting and the next thing I know I’m fighting for my life with my handgun.
With my torn pant leg and the hundreds of cactus spines embedded in my hands, arms, back and butt, I knew what pain was waiting for me. Did this just happen? Yes, it did happen. No, it wasn’t a bluff charge. No, it wasn’t a charge and veer off. It was a full-blown charge and attack from a wild boar.
I was hunting with my friend Josh along the Clear Fork of the Brazos River in Albany, Texas. We had both put arrows into a huge boar, but the hog was defying the laws of science and refusing to give up the ghost.
We tracked the boar up into a nasty thicket of cactus and brush where he was taking refuge. It was clear that he had given up on retreating and he was going to stand his ground. This is where hog hunting gets dangerous. As I side-stepped to the right around the cactus patch, the boar—just 10 yards away, mirrored my every move.
Josh had slipped his way around the brush to find an opening for a broadside shot. The boar never paid him any attention; he kept his focus on me. Through a small opening, Josh shot. His arrow passed completely through the boar’s chest but the wounded boar just stood there, staring at me, seemingly impervious to his wounds.
“Did I hit him?” Josh yelled.
“Behind the shoulder,” I answered, not taking my eyes off the boar.
At the sound of my voice the boar started popping his teeth, sounding like two by fours slapping together. I started to draw an arrow, but before I could raise my bow the boar charged me full blitz. In the blink of an eye his big white tusks were inches away from my legs swiping like switchblades in the hands of a crazed maniac.
I made no conscious decision to flee or fight. It was automatic, instinctual, primal. I found myself backpedaling and drawing my 10mm auto handgun from my belt holster.
Still in a mad backpedal, I fired the 10mm auto rapidly, sending bullets at 1, 400 feet per second into the boar’s face. Regardless of my defensive battery the giant boar continued his deadly assault. Only a brain shot would stop him, and it was not happening.
In a heartbeat, the boar hit me in the legs and threw me into the air. I crash landed on my back in a cluster of prickly pear cactus, but luckily my 10mm auto was still in both hands and aimed at center mass.
Bullets continued to hit him in the face, destroying the bridge of his nose, knocking his head left and right. It was a nightmare, he was closing in, just feet away, and I couldn’t hit him in the brain to stop him.
In the blur of chaos, the only things in perfect focus were his huge tusks, arching from his lips. Unless I stopped his assault right now, those tusks would be in my face doing what they were designed to do—slice, rip, kill.
Over the years I have been nearly killed by a charging elephant, smashed by a Cape buffalo and crushed by a rhino, but this hog attack was different. This was a street fight.
Still on the ground, I continued shooting until, finally, a bullet scrambled the boar’s brain, dropping him lifeless on me. I quickly pulled my legs from underneath his head, aimed my gun between his eyes, cursed, then pulled the trigger. It was over.
As the numbness wore off and the pain began to set in, I picked my bow out of a prickly pear cactus. I looked down at my ripped pants, and then slowly pulled up a pant leg to inspect the damages.
I feared the worst, knowing that it only takes a minor ‘brush’ of a hog’s tusk to inflict a ripping gash in soft flesh. As I pulled my pant leg up I was grateful to see that the tusk had only shaved off the upper layers of skin, leaving bruises and a nice skid mark of blood up my shin.
I ejected the magazine from my 10mm and inserted a fresh one. We marked our location on a GPS unit then began hunting our way back to camp. During the long walk, the attack replayed over and over in my mind, and the “what-ifs” rattled my brain.
Everything happened within seconds. No time to think, just react. “Thank God I always carry a handgun,” I said to myself. I could see the cabin up ahead, and I was eager to tell the guys what had happened.
I’m damned lucky I didn’t get hurt, and even luckier that Josh witnessed the attack, for without a witness, I doubt anyone would believe what just happened.