Hog Hunters in Texas

© 2011, Kim Davis
This article originally appeared in the
Extraordinary Jobs for Ordinary People online Newsletter

All over Texas, farmers and ranchers have a problem with wild hogs. These intelligent and adaptable creatures can wreak havoc on cultivated land and prey on livestock. They can live in any kind of terrain, from forest to swamp, and from brush to desert.  According to Texas A & M University, Texas is currently home to an estimated 2 million feral hogs, which are descended from various breeds imported from Europe as livestock since as far back as the 1680’s.

As destructive predators and disease carriers, the feral hog population has naturally attracted the attention of hunters, and these hogs provide great sport to many members of the community in which I live. Here, people raise horses and are also increasingly raising hog dogs. (In fact my own “head of security” is a very large Catahoula Cur, a favored breed among hog dog breeders.) So the opportunity to perform a service by ridding the region of the hateful hogs while getting outdoors on horseback with a pack of dogs is irresistible to the hunters among us. Let’s face it, there simply aren’t that many opportunities to really live the cowboy life in this day and age.

I’ve said all this to say that I just learned about an accident a young hog hunter I know had last week. I knew that the boy had broken his collar bone, but I had not heard how, so this morning when I saw his dad I asked what happened. The details were a lot worse than I expected, and it took place on a hog hunt. Now before anyone has a chance to assume that someone was careless, understand that these are people who know how to hunt safely, they know how to ride horses, and they took precautions. This boy had not been allowed to go out hunting with just his young friends specifically because his dad knew the risks and was concerned with his safety. So the hunt was on horseback, on family owned land, with dogs and a bunch of seasoned, grown-up hunters. They were driving a large group of hogs through an area with trees, and moving at a good pace, and the kid simply hit a tree while ducking and dodging limbs.

The injury was worse than just the broken collar bone I’d heard about, but the young hunter is going to heal. I could tell that the images from that day will forever be burned on that father’s brain. He thought as he rode in the ambulance that he’d gotten his boy killed. He was truly shook just telling me the story. That dad is giving thanks to the Almighty today that he still has his son. And it was an accident that could have happened to anyone. It happened in a heartbeat. (Don’t they always?)

So I’ll close with a simple reminder to all you wild, crazy adventurers. Have a good time, but be careful. We are not immortal. That young hog hunter was fond of telling his dad, “Nothing’s going to happen,” but as the dad told me, “He wore that excuse out.” (Maybe I should also add… KIds, your parents aren’t as dumb as they look!)

In depth information about the Feral Hogs in Texas can be found at http://feralhogs.tamu.edu/, and in particular check their resources section: http://feralhogs.tamu.edu/publications/