John's Journal...


More About Hogs

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: The Chickasawhay River swamp in Greene County, Mississippi, may have one of the oldest populations of feral pigs in the nation. The area has no record of a time when this river-bottom swamp hasn't homed hogs. Fences and property lines never have bound the free spirits of these feral hogs like the wild boars of old. They roam at will, foraging for food, hiding out in the big cane thickets and briar patches along the edges of the river bank and wreaking havoc on croplands by night. Hunters with packs of hounds and live traps and sportsmen with rifles and bows never have eliminated these free-roaming pigs. They haveClick to enlarge become as much a part of the land as the earth itself.

The Florida Everglades has a healthy herd of feral hogs, as does the Kennedy Space Center area where NASA has estimated 5,000 wild pigs roam its 220-square mile property. Officials fear these pigs may pose a threat to using the spaceport for shuttle landings. These pigs breed faster than trappers can catch them. The eating habits of the pigs, which include rooting for bugs, worms and grass shoots, make the pigs tunnel into the ground and threaten NASA's network of underground cables and communication lines. A survivor, the wild hog can adapt Click to enlargeto all types of climate, habitat and foods, including fungi, leaves, acorns, fruits, roots, bulbs, snails, earthworms, frogs, reptiles, bird eggs, rats, mice and carrion. Arkansas razorbacks have such tough reputations that the University of Arkansas has adopted them as their mascot. Outdoorsmen hunt wild hogs even as far away as Hawaii.

Remember when hunting wild hogs that they have an extraordinary sense of smell, a good sense of hearing and considerable intelligence but poor vision. Although wild hogs can move at a trot and are good swimmers, they can gallop only for a short distance. Wild hogs frequent regularClick to enlarge paths connecting their resting places, feeding areas, water holes and wallows and particularly like salt licks. They must have water available for bathing in mud, which is of great importance to their well-being and gets rids of parasites. A challenge for early hunters to take, the wild hog remains one of the most sought-after game in America. As one hog hunter explained, "to know the nature of a wild hog, start with just plain hog. Then add a constitutional leanness and an ability to run all day -- fast. Add skill at gutting hounds, willingness to charge a man, the fleetness of a deer, the cunning of a bear and the elusiveness of a fox."

Check back each day this week for more about HOG HUNTING FOREVER

Day 1: My Mississippi Hog Hunt
Day 2: My Connection with the Wild Boar
Day 3: My Hog Discovery
Day 4: What About Hogs
Day 5: More About Hogs



Entry 299, Day 5