Friday, September 17, 2010

Pennsylvania, Kansas and A Little Hog

     Here’s a detour from “art talk” and another tale from my Sabinal, Texas days.  My friend, Maurice (see the blog post, A Good Man, dated 7/14/10) had a bow hunting operation on a neighboring ranch there in Sabinal.  We spent the day riding in the truck and talking trash.  We decided to make the corn run for Maurice’s bow hunters about 4 pm.  We stopped at headquarters, where another “ranch manager” (actually a neophyte from Kansas) stopped us for some small talk. 
     Interestingly enough, he had a box trap in his truck, in which resided three rather large and toothy boar hogs.  We pitched right in and helped this NKRM (Neophyte from Kansas Ranch Manager) offload his three hogs.  I should be a bit more descriptive here, so you get a good mental picture.  This box trap is only 5 feet long by 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall.  Somehow three 150-200-lb. boars, all black, all mad, and all with big cutters have jammed themselves through the hinged door and into his trap. They can’t move, and there’s no going forward, and no reverse.
     So about this time, Mr. Kansas decides he’ll have a nice Copenhagen break while he chats with us and he sits on top of his trap while we chat.  Here’s where the learning opportunity comes in.  This may seem a bit obvious, but never, I repeat never, sit on a box trap with a 200-lb. boar under your butt.
     In 2 seconds, he was cut stem to stem.  It happened so fast he didn’t believe it.  When I told him he had a 3-inch gash that would require stitches, he was secretly wishing he was back in Kansas.  Maurice was biting a hole in his lower lip to keep from laughing out loud, and also secretly wishing this guy would go back to Kansas.
     Mr. Kansas headed for town and we headed out to make the grain run.  A grain run in South Texas consists of driving a route with a corn feeder on the back of a truck.  Maurice’s route required two barrels, each holding 300 pounds of corn.  We made the first run and refilled to start the second half, when we came across one of Maurice’s hunters.  This hunter was from Pennsylvania and had never hunted hogs with a bow before.  Mr. Pennsylvania was ecstatic.  Just prior to our arrival, he had shot his first somewhat small South Texas hog.  In his opinion, he didn’t think the hog was that big.
      Now, at the same time, and typical of Texas weather, a late November “blue norther” was building in the northwest sky.  Low and blue-black skies would soon be pushing dust, and then the temperature would be dropping into the low 30’s.  Maurice instructs Mr. Pennsylvania we needed to secure two blood-trailing dogs and would return to trail up his little hog.  We return and turn out two cur dogs named Cassie and Diamond at the location where the hog was hit and the race is on!  They trail for 80 yards and bay.  (A dog “baying” means they are barking in the face of our hog, letting us know where they are.)  We strike a run and as we close on their position, what was supposed to be a little nothing hog is 300 lbs. of super-deluxe pissed off South Texas boar hog with huge teeth.
Me and Mr. Pennsylvania's
Little Hog
     And, you guessed it!  The “blue norther” hits with a fury!  The wind starts blowing so hard; we can’t hear the dogs and visibility drops to about 60 yards from blowing dust.  I know Maurice is growing concerned because he asks me if I have my gun.  I confirm I’ve got my .45 Long Colt with 6 rounds in the chamber.  Maurice has a .22 with 10 rounds.  Should be sufficient!  We walk a mile listening for the dogs…. Nothing.  We walk another mile…. One faint bark.  We listen… we walk …. we listen.   Finally, a faint bay bark… 200 yards … we hit a dead run. 
     Mr. Pennsylvania falls behind.  We cover another half mile.  The dogs are baying a small white brush thicket.  We come in down-wind and quietly I ease around the big hog’s position.  The dogs are looking right at him, but we can’t get a visual.  I get on my hands and knees to look under the brush canopy and there it is!  One huge eye is looking right back at me!  Maurice says, “Watch the dogs and take the shot.”  The hammer falls and all hell breaks loose.  The hog runs over Cassie and hooks Diamond and throws him 6 feet in the air.  He receives a gash about like Mr. Kansas’ new cosmetic addition.
     Diamond latches on the boar’s hind end and sets the brake.  Maurice and I close the distance again.  The hog starts fighting both dogs and things are really escalating now.  I close in and shoot three 200-grain solids.  I hear Maurice hammering with the little .22.  The hog is showing no response.  Adrenalin, dogs, tusks…. Everything is a blur.  Then in a flash, he turns and leaves out.  He goes 20 yards before Diamond puts another catch on his flank.  I fire again at the neck junction, trying to anchor the boar.  He stumbles and falls.  Cassie won’t quit until Maurice scolds her.  He takes a visual reading of our location and we start the long walk back. 
     Mr. Pennsylvania meets us halfway back and Maurice hands him 6 feet of rope.  “You’re going to need two more friends to drag your little hog back to camp.”  He tells Mr. Pennsylvania where his hog is, as well as where the nearest road is, and we head for the truck.
     Here’s the moral of this story:
     1.  If you’re from Kansas, check the ground rules for Texas.  Especially the page about hog traps with boar hogs already in them.  On that page will be instructions about criteria for sitting on the trap.
     2.  If you’re from Pennsylvania, a little hog will be one smaller than a love seat.

All content and images © Mark Kohler Studio. 


  1. I enjoyed reading this, Mark. Very funny. Makes me want to move to Texas.

    (Maybe)"I'm not from Texas, but (maybe) Texas wants me anyhow" as per Lyle Lovett.

  2. Oh, we'll gladly take you ....anytime!