There are two kinds of hog hunting. Just about a week ago, I unwittingly did both in one day.
I was on a golf cart, on the way to a deer hunt, with my rubber clad feet up, taking in the scenery.
I had my diet coke already cracked open and my hunting partner had peanuts in his pocket and an earmarked copy of Faulkner’s “Big Woods,” in his travel bucket.
We were ready to go.
Whether or not you ever pull the trigger on your dinner, I encourage you to sit on a deer stand once in your life. Put it on your “bucket list.” There is nothing like being with yourself in nature, as a guest there, taking in the big woods and all of the life that goes on around you.
The best woodsmen will always return with stories–about how the mama gray squirrel was fighting over acorns with her baby squirrel, or how the raccoon ate so much corn he could hardly walk afterward. These are the moments you’ll always remember, especially when you go by yourself. As my friend says, “No one is there to interrupt your conversation.”
There is great mystery that goes on out there. It is exciting to peer out and try to understand it. And try to identify the age of a buck, who has just chipped his right horn after fighting with another buck.
It is just as satisfying to be an observer.
There are rules over which deer you can shoot. And so often a deer hunt will produce a hog, rather than a deer.
On this particular day, I brought back five hogs.
I made so much food in the next few days, it was enough to feed a family for the Winter.
These are some of the things I made: cotechino sausage, kielbasa, venison sausage, chorizo sausage, porchetta sausage, braised pork belly, pork ragu, bacon, pancetta, terrine, brined and roasted back strap… and some other things I’m probably forgetting.
One particular hog was just about the largest they’ve ever seen on that hunting preserve. She was so big, we found she had a bullet in her already that hadn’t effected her.
And the beauty of such a large hog is the fat. It made some sublime sausage and we didn’t really have to rely on domestic pig fat for the sausage as a result.
As some of you may know, wild boar aren’t considered a game animal because they are so overpopulated and destructive. You don’t need a license to hunt them in Arkansas, in fact they pay people to hunt them in certain parts. This is because their population can double in six (6) months, and they destroy farmland and even invite themselves into urban living rooms looking for food.
They aren’t very friendly when they arrive either.
Then there is the other kind of hog hunting, the kind I’ve heard stories about but had never done until now.
It’s a lot more “hands on.” It requires you to channel your cave woman roots.
It also requires dogs.
And four wheelers.
It does not, however, require a deer scrotum on your gear shifter.
That is optional.
The dogs wear blinking digital collars and the four wheelers follow the dogs on a GPS system.
This is Beau. They say that if the other dogs can’t find a hog, he makes one.
He had stitches on his chest. He was hard core.
The dogs run far away.
But will run back to you if you signal their collar.
You listen for their howling which is a sign that they’ve found a hog.
Then you race your four wheeler there as fast as you can before the over-eager dogs get hurt by sharp tusks.
This is what my friend calls “NASCAR Hog Hunting.”
In once instance, when we arrived the dogs and the boar were under this. It was a floor of thick brush that we couldn’t see into. I was standing above them looking down and listening to them fight.
Things got interesting.
Men (and me) climbed brush.
And then so was I.
Yes, I used the big Rambo knife. Because I decided that a gun is useful in a deer stand, but it is also a bit of a cop out. If I want to take a hands on approach to my meat eating, I have to try it all, even if just once.
So I channeled the inner cave woman and used the Rambo knife.
This kind of hog hunting is not for everyone.
But sitting in a deer stand is for everyone. It reminds you of what it is like to feel human again. As long as you leave the iPhone at home.
Have you ever been on a boar hunt? Did you use a Rambo knife? Or could you see yourself sitting on a deer stand? Tell us about it in the comments.