Outdoors lovers in particular beam with pride when speaking about the number of whitetails in the state and sheer amount of hunting land.
Here is a stat that most are not going to like. Texas is top when it comes to hog attacks. Last year we did a story called “Profile of a Killer Hog,” and it featured information from a biologist named Dr. Jack Ayer.
The researcher with the Savannah River National Laboratory recently presented a paper on hog attacks from around the world, and the findings are fascinating. The study documented 412 wild hog attacks worldwide, impacting 665 people. During this time there were four fatal hog attacks in the United States, with the most recent in Texas in 1996.
Of the 21 states reporting hog attacks Texas led the pack with 24 percent with Florida at 12 percent and South Carolina, 10. It is interesting to note that hogs beat out worldwide shark fatalities as recently as 2013.
Obviously, if hogs were bloodthirsty animals, bent on destroying humanity there would be many fatal attacks in Texas. That is just not the case, but what is interesting is the profile of hogs that have attacked humans.
In his study, hogs that attack are described as solitary (82 percent), large (87 percent) and male (81 percent). Most attacks occurred when there was no hunting involved.
This describes a lone, mature boar, probably territorial, that is powerful and much faster than a person can imagine. It is a different hog than the young boar that comes in with a bunch of other hogs to a deer feeder, or the sow defending her young. She may be aggressive in defense, but Ayer’s findings show many of these hog attacks have the pig actually eating or attempting to eat the people.
There are numerous accounts of hunters (usually hunting hogs with dogs) getting hooked by a boar. While bowhunting for hogs in South Texas many years ago, I met a man with 83 stitches on his left leg. That happened when a hog got hold of him in a cactus thicket while running it with dogs a few years previous. I have since lost track of the man, but I will never forget seeing his scars.
In 1998 Robert Burns of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service wrote of two verified attacks in Texas, including the aforementioned 1996 fatality. “In one instance, a boar attacked a woman on a Fort Worth jogging trail. Two years ago, a Cherokee County deer hunter died from a feral hog attack.”
The Benton County Daily Record chronicled a wild boar that “attacked and flipped a utility vehicle on a job site in Waco… and severely injured a Gentry man.” The story details that, “Greg Lemke, who designs chicken houses for Latco Inc. of Lincoln, was a passenger in a utility vehicle when the wild boar struck the rear of the vehicle, causing it to flip with Lemke inside. The accident left Lemke paralyzed from the breast bone down.”
Hog attacks of course are not limited to Texas. The Pineville Town Talk tells the story of a Pineville, Louisiana man who had a pig enter the house he was visiting.
“Boston Kyles, 20, of 497 Pelican Drive told deputies he was visiting his sister’s house at the time of the incident. He said he had gone there to clean fish and was sitting in the house’s front room when the pig entered through the front door. Kyles told deputies he stomped the floor to try to shoo the pig out of the room, but the pig charged him, Maj. Herman Walters said.”
“Walters had heard of pigs attacking people in the woods, but said this was the first time he had heard of a pig going into a house and attacking someone.”
In my book “Hog Wild,” I reference an Edgefield, South Carolina man who experienced one of the scariest hog attacks I could find occurring in the United States.
The Edgefield Advertiser reported, “A man was hospitalized recently after being attacked by a wild hog at his home on Gaston Road. The hog, which eyewitnesses estimated to weigh upwards of 700 pounds, materialized in Fab Burt’s backyard while he was working in his garden.”
“It came out of nowhere and attacked me. It had me pinned on the ground and was mauling me.” Fortunately, Burt’s seven-month-old German shepherd, named Bobo, was on hand to help him fend off the hog.
As previously mentioned, hogs are not out to kill people. Well at least most of them aren’t. Apparently there are a few out there who don’t mind coming after humans, which is why we should always give them plenty of space.
You never know their intentions. Hunters beware.
—by Chester Moore
—from Andi Cooper