The feral hog wasn’t really a feral hog

Published 3:45 pm Saturday, January 24, 2009

A friend of mine – and we’ll call him “Gary,” because that really is his name, but we won’t say his last name, because he finds this story pretty embarrassing on a couple of different levels — lives halfway across the country, near Palestine, Texas.

Gary lives out in the country.

And he likes outdoor stuff. He hunts and fishes and plays with four-wheelers and all that.

And, because he’s a Texan, he always keeps a gun fairly handy. (Keep that in mind. That will be important in a minute.)

Feral hogs were a problem around Gary’s home. In case you don’t know about feral hogs, they’re the descendants of domesticated hogs, but their great, great grandparents got loose and, as the escapees had piglets who grew up and had piglets of their own, they’ve reverted to the wild. They have tusks and they can be dangerous.

They can also be a pain in the neck because they root around in the dirt and can just completely destroy a yard or even a whole crop.

One Sunday, when Gary and his wife came home from church, he pulled his pickup into his driveway and they got out to go into the house through the back door.

But as Gary stepped out of the truck, he saw a big pig stick its nose through the hedge across the back of his yard.

Gary froze in place, thinking, I’m sure, about the damage such an animal could inflict.

Very slowly and very quietly, he reached back into his truck and under the seat to pull out a Colt Python .357 revolver with a six inch barrel. The pistol was loaded with six full house hollow point bullets.

About the time Gary had his pistol in his hand, the pig made a noise and started toward him.

Gary thumbed the hammer back on the Colt and fired a round at the pig.

The pig didn’t stop. It kept coming.

Gary pulled the trigger three more times, firing double action now, not taking the time to cock the pistol and fire single action.

Finally, the pig skidded to a halt about three feet in front of where Gary was standing.

Once Gary quit shaking, he was pretty proud of himself for standing his ground in the face of danger and for having rid the world of one of those big pests.

The next day at work, he got a phone call.

The call was from a neighbor who lived down the road about a mile. She was calling all the people up and down that country road to see if anyone had seen her son’s pet pig.

The lady told Gary how important this pig was to her son. It was a school ag project, she explained, in which the young man had invested hours and hours of work. She talked about how much he had grown to love the animal and about how it followed him around just like a pet dog and how it trusted people because the boy fed it out of his hand and…

Feeling sick, Gary asked the lady to describe the pig.

She perfectly described the pig Gary had shot and killed the day before.

Gary told her he’d keep an eye out for it.

David Sullens is president of Roanoke-Chowan Publications and publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald and the Gates County Index.