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GOOD TIMES WITH GOOD DOGS.

Feral pigs, what can I say, after hunting them on the average of 3 times per week for over 30 years the adrenalin still pumps at the sight of a big old boar making a break for it. There is nothing better than hearing a big boar blow, after being disturbed from a comfortable bed by a dog.

Initially hunting with a rifle, I enjoyed moderate success, scoring quite a few good size boars over the years. The nature of the country around my home town, situated in the New England area of NSW, was on the pigs side though. Many a time I returned home empty handed, but going by the sign encountered I was very close to success. The pigs were just to clever to be caught out by a novice.

One afternoon I ran into an old school mate who was a keen pig hunter, but instead of shooting them he used a couple of pig dogs. An invitation was extended for me to accompany him on a hunt, but I declined, not interested in hunting with dogs at that stage. Over the next 6 months, every time I ran into this fellow he would pester me to come hunting with him. In the end, to stop him from annoying me, I agreed to go on one hunt with him. What an experience, my wife still blames him for what he created.

He picked me up about mid afternoon and we travelled out to a property about 30 minutes from town. He had three dogs, Boss and Sandy, both Bull Terrier X Boxers and Snoopy, a Bull Terrier X Whippet. Snoopy and Sandy were the finders and old Boss a holder, and what a holder. One of the hardest dogs I ever saw. The country consisted of old cultivation paddocks, scattered timber and miles and miles of waist high grass. I had hunted similar country with a rifle for very mediocre results. The amount of cover definitely favoured the pigs, and having not hunted with dogs before didn’t think success would be on our side. How wrong was I. The dogs were very experienced and had no trouble at all with the thick cover.

After 4 hours of hunting the dogs had caught 12 pigs, the biggest about 60 Kgs. Both the dogs and hunters were all well and truly stuffed, but what an afternoon. I was totally hooked. The excitement of hearing the dogs get stuck into a good sized boar was unbelievable.

I had to get myself a pig dog. I bought a pup from my mate and tried to find a working dog, but to no avail. However, fortune prevailed, my mate was starting a new job in Goondiwindi and wouldn’t have time to hunt pigs for quite a while and offered to sell me Sandy. I couldn’t pick her up fast enough. Was she in for some hard yakka.

That was the start. I have been hunting and breeding pig dogs for over 26 years, worn out quite a few dogs and four wheel drives. I wouldn’t have a clue on the numbers of pigs I have caught over the years, but would number in the thousands.

I have hunted most of what was considered the pig hot spots in Australia over the years. Through the 70’s early 80’s as well as hunting locally we hunted the Watercourse country at Moree, the Macquarie Marshes, quite a few properties at Walgett, Goodooga, Mungindi, Brewarrina, Bourke, Goondiwindi and more recently the Channel country in Queensland, as well as the Gulf and the Cape.

What I wouldn’t give to go back to the 70’s, the days before chillers. Property access was readily available if you did the right thing. It wasn’t uncommon for property owners to contact their neighbours and so on. We used to hunt about 300 hundred thousand acres at Walgett for many years. The property owners couldn’t do enough for us. All they were concerned about was reducing the pig numbers, then in plague proportions. 70 or 80 pigs a day was not uncommon, my best for 1 day with 4 dogs was 115. We took in excess of 4,000 pigs off one 50,000 acre block in 2 and a half years. A fair percentage of these were good boars, and you needed quite a few dogs to get you through a few days. I used to take 11 dogs on a 3 day hunt, and believe me, we needed every one of them.

Over the years I have had a few real good dogs, quite a few good dogs, heaps of average dogs and even more useless dogs ( I have found, these are the easiest to get). Initially I used to try and buy working dogs, occasionally I struck a good one, but more often than not they were either average or useless. Either way I found I didn’t hang on to them for very long. I found the best thing to do was buy a young pup from a known line. (Someone who has been breeding the same dogs for a number of years that have been proven). Most of the more reputable breeders will guarantee their pups.

I eventually caught up with a Victorian breeder by the name of Doug Mummery (now deceased) who had been breeding a good line of dogs for quite a few years and knew what he was on about.

Doug had an old line of running dogs, Deerhound crossed with Bull Terrier, a bit of Greyhound and Doberman. He Crossed a pure bred English Mastiff to a pure Bull Terrier bitch and used this cross as stud dogs over his running line to give them a bit more “heart”. He also had other crosses including Dane, Foxhound, Rottweiler and Bull Mastiff, but his running dog crosses were the best, and till this day I firmly believe the best dogs you could ask for would have some running blood in them, for example Staghound, Greyhound, Deerhound or Wolfhound.

Most running dog crosses are good finders, finding well both on the ground or scenting from the back of a vehicle. They all have a good temperament and most are easily trained and not aggressive towards other dogs.( A shortfall with some of the Bull breeds). What I have found though, the Wolfhound crosses can’t handle the heat as well as the other running breeds. This is not a problem but you need to be aware, and keep the water up to these dogs.

Doug’s dogs formed the foundation of probably the best line of dogs I have ever had and continue to breed and use till this day. These dogs find well off the truck or on the ground and they run on easily, catching quite a few pigs out of a mob, if you can keep up, that is. Some of my dogs, I breed specifically to find and bail and usually run a holder either chained on the back of the FWD or on a lead if we are walking. Most of the really good dogs I have had, used to go again if there were more pigs around once the holder arrived. This can be annoying if the pigs are only small, but if they are good sized pigs, dogs like these are worth their weight in gold.

The Six Months Boar. 

Friday night, late, about 3am and one of those nights that is as black as. The blackness pierced by the steady arc of a spotlight, only the sounds of a slow moving Toyota four wheel drive and the heavy panting of four dogs on the tray. Deacon and Chloe, unchained, eagerly sniffing the air for that telltale scent of pigs. From past experience the whiff didn’t have to be that strong for these two to spring into action. Beau and Judy tethered on short chains, were to be used as backups on a bad boar or dropped on other pigs if a mob was found. 

So far success was on our side. Testimony of this were the six pigs already hanging on the back, cleaned and ready for delivery to the wild game chiller the following morning. These pigs, two boars about 65kgs, the other four somewhere between 25kgs and 50kgs were caught on a combination of an old Lucerne crop and a young oat crop.

Having already hunted two properties we saved what we thought was the best to last. This property was 12,000 acres, a mixed cropping and grazing enterprise. My hunting partner Warren worked on this particular property and had noticed the tracks of a good boar at a couple of the watering points. Not far from the water were three paddocks of sorghum (maize) each around 500 acres and we were sure this is where we would find this particular boar.

Closing in on the first paddock, expectations were high that we would finish the night with a good hog. As we got closer we were both watching the dogs expecting them to jump at any minute. Through the gate and half a kilometre into the paddock not a sign. Ah well, still a lot of crop to go. About three quarters of the way through crop number one we came across a pig pad. We both went over to where the pigs were coming under the fence and there in the soft soil were the tracks of a boar that would weigh at least 90kgs. Still no reaction at all from the dogs, while we were looking at the tracks they inspected the crop but showed no interest. We continued on, at the bottom of the paddock, another pad, this time with the big boars track leaving the crop.

Because there was no scent we agreed that the boar must have been coming in before dark or very early on in the night. OK, two can play this game, or so we thought. Over the next 6 months we tried everything possible to outsmart this boar. Many times he may have been in the vicinity but we caught other pigs and probably scared him off. We hunted two or three nights in a row at different hours, returned up to 4 times some nights but still no luck. Gave it a rest for a week or so, still success eluded us.  He was still there; we could see his tracks in the soft soil. We even followed the pad at least 5 kilometres back into the scrub, but he must have been travelling a long way. 

We were now out to prove a point, we can catch this bloody pig, and he’s not that smart. Another Friday night about 8pm, not a full moon but getting close. We decided to park the vehicle about five k’s from the paddock, walk through the scrub and pick his pad up approximately three k’s out from the crop and then follow it back towards the crop. The theory being that if he was leaving via the pad he would run into us. Or if he were going into the crop the dogs would pick his scent up. We had all fingers and toes crossed that any other pigs in the area were having a night off crop raiding. The walk to the pad was uneventful, the dogs hunting off for ten to fifteen minutes at a time. Warren had Judy on a lead; she tended to hunt out too far. Once we reached the pad we had a break for about ten minutes and continued on. The dogs showed a little bit of interest on the pad, looked like old scent. Couldn’t see any tracks due to the hard nature of the soil in the scrub.

About two k’s along the pad the three hunting dogs had been gone for about 10 minutes. Beau was with them, this usually meant he could smell boar; he rarely showed any interest in sows when walking, unless they were right under his nose. Judy was getting very agitated and it was all Warren could do to keep her under control. Excitement was an understatement, would it be THE BOAR.

We continued on at a faster pace but were restricted by the thick scrub. Another ten minutes dragged by, still nothing, had they missed him? And then it happened, about 500 yards ahead the battle erupted. It sounded as though the three dogs hit him at once so he probably didn’t run. He was probably just standing in some thick stuff waiting for the dogs to go past, but they didn't. I have seen old boars do this quite often.

Warren let Judy go and we took of, by the sound of things he knew how to dish it out. We ran as fast as we could through the scrub but it seemed to take ages to get there. Nothing like running through thick scrub in the middle of the night, a good way to lose an eye. When we arrived the dogs had things under control. After six months of hunting this old warrior we finally had him, a funny feeling, basically all over with the blink of an eye.  It seemed disappointing that the highlight of pursuing this cagey old hog would end in a matter of minutes. 

It wasn’t the same for the next couple of months when hunting this particular property knowing that the big boar was gone. But we both new there would be more. 

A bit of trivia, he weighed 101kgs at the chiller. He wasn’t a long pig but extremely solid. Both warren and myself estimated him to weigh about 85kgs when we caught him. We were pleasantly surprised.

Been There.

A phone call late one night from Browny opened the door to the prospect of hunting some new country. Over the last few months I had been concentrating on working two properties, and even though we were pulling good numbers of pigs on each trip, you start to get a bit stale on hunting the same gullies etc over and over again.

The property we were to hunt was one Browny had worked on a few years ago, and only recently become home to a large mob of pigs. The amount of rooting and fence damage was something the cockie would rather do without, and had tried unsuccessfully to trap the pigs, managing to reduce the numbers slightly. The ones that remained were proving difficult to trap, hence the cry for help from Browny.

It had been a few years since Browny and I had hunted together and he no longer had any dogs. After a long catch up discussion we planned a daylight hunt the following Saturday. Not knowing where the pigs were coming from, which paddocks they were working etc the plan was to check the place out in daylight and maybe strike a few still out feeding in the early hours.

The property was only a short drive from town, and after unlocking the gate and giving the dogs a chance to empty out, we were ready to go. The dogs in tow were Turbo, Deacon and Gus, along with Browny and my son Stephen. Our idea was to drive up onto a large hill in the middle of the property and via the scope on my rifle (carried in case the opportunity of a goat for dog food presented itself), try and spot the pigs while they were heading back to cover from a night out.

At this stage it was still dark and about -4 degrees Celsius so we were keen to keep moving. We had travelled approx 600 meters; when, in a mad rush all three dogs jumped and took off into the dark at a rate of knots. Judging by the speed they disappeared it wouldn’t be long before we had our first pig. We followed in the Toyota but had trouble keeping up due to large rocks every 2 or 3 meters, eventually forcing us to stop the vehicle, and continue on foot.

We had travelled about a kilometre at this stage in the vehicle and about 300 meters on foot and still no action. It was another couple of minutes before we heard the sound of a pig squealing about 500 meters in front. A quick run and we had our first pig, a red and black sow just over 35 kilos. Deacon by this stage had run on and we could hear him barking about a K further on. The other dogs took off to help out as we followed at a much slower pace. On arrival and severely out of breath we finished off a boar just over 50kgs.

It was a bloody long drag back to the truck, but we got stuck into it and arrived back at the vehicle with both pigs about 30 minutes later, still leaving plenty of time to check out the view from the hill. On arrival at the hill, I grabbed the rifle and started to scan the area. Apart from a mob of goats all was quiet. But perseverance paid off in this case, and Browny spotted a boar doing his part to keep the hog supply alive and well. They were about 500 meters away and just of the end of a scrubby gully, and only looked like the two of them.

Back in the vehicle we decided to go around the back of the hill and come in from behind them, and try and block them off from reaching the scrubby country. We had travelled about 300 meters when out of the gully near the other two pigs a mob of about 25 pigs appeared with a big boar in the lead, and by the look of them pretty keen to reach the scrub. It was now all systems go as we raced the pigs to the scrub. We had two gates to get through which would hamper our progress substantially. However, on our side was the need for the pigs to travel up a fairly steep hill and we were confident we would win the race. By the time we reached the mob they had just reached some scattered timber and were very close to cover. We dropped the dogs and followed on foot. Turbo went up one side of the mob and Deacon and Gus (only 8 months old) went up the other. Turbo nailed a 71kg boar that cut from the mob on his side, and Deacon true to his nature headed for the large boar in front with Gus in tow.

I headed for Turbo to finish off the boar he had, and Browny and Stephen headed after the other two dogs, which by now had disappeared over a rise, well up the rear end of the big boar. Before I reached Turbo the sound of Deacon and Gus bailing could be heard. I wasted no time killing the boar and getting Turbo off to help the other dogs. A short sprint up hill and I could see the other boar bailed near a large gum tree. Browny tried to sneak around behind him but the boar had other ideas and tried to run as he spotted Browny. Just at that time, Turbo arrived and went straight in. Normally he would hit and hang no worries, but this hog was throwing dogs left, right and centre.

He was spinning constantly and the dogs just couldn’t get hold. Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime they had him under control. Browny and I were right on the spot and grabbed the boar and threw him straight away. Stephen checked the dogs; Gus was the worst for wear and had some major hits. He now knew boars bite back, a lesson well learned. Turbo also had some minor battle wounds but nothing major, Deacon as in most cases was unmarked.

Next step was to check out the boar, and as always after the heat of the battle, discuss the last few minutes of the chase, how the dogs went, estimate the weight etc. Normally we each estimate the weight, and have a beer bet on who is the closest. Closer inspection of the boar revealed he had no ears, hence the problem the dogs had getting control of him. Obviously he had struck dogs before and new what he was on about. Been there done that!

I can’t remember the guessed weights or who won the beer, but we were all within 5kgs of the actual chiller weight, he went 90kgs dead on. We managed another two smaller pigs on the way out of the property, but as always when good numbers or plenty of sign is evident the next trip is planned on the way home.

Fat ’n’ Shiny

Sudax, a type of ‘cow chow’ or ‘speed feed’, is commonly grown for cattle feed around my area of North Western New South Wales. A much needed supplement on many mixed farming enterprises and used as both standing feed or baled for reserves in times of need. In the eyes of the cattlemen, if you wanted two words to describe Sudax “bloody good” would come close to the mark. However if on the other hand, you happened to be an avid pig hunter “bloody hell” would be two words that spring instantly to mind.

For those unfamiliar with Sudax I would describe is as being similar to hunting sugar cane but not as tough, growing well over head height in most areas. But never having experienced sugar cane myself I can only picture in my mind the similarity between the two. For results in either, your dogs need to be experienced and a cut above average to get consistent results.

My dogs had broken their teeth pursuing and catching large New England boars in blackberry invested gullies, and knew all there was to know about how to find pigs in the most impenetrable vegetation. Certain times of the year when the grain crops were ripening, a welcome change to the ever present thorns on the blackberry must have seemed like heaven to the dogs as much as to me and my hunting partners. Hunting the grain crops varied from chest high oats to the more sparsely planted sorghum crops, with hunting commencing when the crops started to come into head. The end of the grain hunting seasons culminated with the adrenalin rush of stubble hunting. This consists mostly of pursuing the pigs in a 4X4 and dropping the dogs off on selected targets. There’s nothing like seeing the action unfold in front of your eyes.

What this type of hunting creates, is, what many would refer to as an “all-rounder”, a dog that could do the job and get results in almost any type of country or situation? No easy task I can tell you. For example, if you bring a dog that is used to sight hunting on the plains to hunting 100 acres of thick blackberry, and expecting him to deliver results, from my experience, most of the time the dog will fail. Having these types of “all-rounders” gives you a quiet confidence that it normally takes a smart pig to give them the slip.

So, what’s with all this Sudax this, and grain crop that? We had been hunting with good results, approx 5,000 acres of wheat and barley and on most trips were pulling around ten to a dozen pigs (sellers) for an overnight run. Leaving home just after lunch and arriving at the property in time to get in a few hours hunting before dark, working the surrounding grass and timbered country till dark, then through to about 2am around the crops with the light. Grab a few hours shut eye, then belt a few on the way out in the morning, finally arriving at the chiller around 7am, mostly with a few “gooduns” on the back. A few months of this, finishing with an absolute hammering of the remaining pigs on the stubble we decided it was time to move to greener pastures. Numbers had dwindled and we really needed to put in the hard yards to get results. Having said that, we still managed to catch four or five good pigs each run, but other areas were reaching that time of the year when they became the “hotspots” and the pigs much easier to find.

Discussions with the property owner over a BBQ brekky advised him of our plans to move further a field. We would however; keep in touch on a regular basis to make sure the pigs didn’t overrun his particular part of the world. This bloke had grown up in the district and seeing feral pigs was a common sight and a few didn’t bother him unduly unless he was witnessing large scale crop damage. This would get him motivated no end and we would be called in to wreak havoc on the local swine once again.

Regular phone calls about once a month confirmed all was quiet on the western front. Other than a few sightings here and there a trip down wasn’t worthwhile. Most of the phone discussions took place with Dave, the farm hand. He was keen to attempt a bit of “pigchasin” when the opportunity presented itself. About two months went by, still not looking promising, but we kept trying anyway, knowing sooner or later the pigs would be back. Another phone call and at last a glimmer of hope, a few sows and suckers were spotted in close proximity to 600 acres of Sudax (see, there was a link).

Advice from Dave put a dampener on things though. He told us the pigs were only sows, there were no boars and he and the boss didn’t think the dogs would catch the pigs in the Sudax because it was too thick. They both reckoned we should wait until after they put the cattle in and they knocked it down a bit. We assured him the dogs would still catch the pigs, no worries, but he was the boss. Two and a half months went by before we convinced them that we should give it a go. They were seeing a few more sows and suckers, and the sorghum two paddocks away, was starting to come into head.

Leaving home at 3.30am for a morning run would get me down there in time to pick up Dave and my mate Don and be at the Sudax by first light, ready to do battle with these sows and suckers. All went to plan, as we sat on the back of the Toyota in the middle of a large recently worked cultivation paddock letting the dogs do what they normally do after being cooped up in dog box for 2 hours on the road. The dogs we had on this trip was Liddie (English Mastiff/Bully X Deerhound), Deacon (Out of Liddie by a Wolfhound/bully X), Beau (3/4 Bully x Bull Mastiff), Boof (Staffy X Boxer) and my mate Don had Donna (Dane/Boxer X Bull Mastiff). Deacon and Donna were just on 12 months old and still learning the ropes.

The Sudax was sown around both sides of a hill. A track going right around the entire crop, and down the centre, would allow vehicle hunting if necessary. In the middle and at both ends was a timbered ridge with grass about waist high covering most of the areas between the trees with contour banks about 100 meters apart breaking the crop at regular intervals. Off to the west was a large area of recently farmed country, a grassy waterway and then into 300 acres of sorghum. Also scattered intermittently throughout the crop were dams, allowing the pigs to water at their leisure. I’m not sure if there is pig paradise out there but if this place wasn’t it, it was certainly runner up.

Now to the plan. Scout the whole crop using the vehicle, letting Liddie and Deacon Ute find. If this fails we would walk the crop of Sudax and then wander over to the sorghum. We waited until the first tinge of light in the east gave an indication of the new day, and we were off. We headed for the track in the middle with the idea of driving right through to the far end and then swinging to the south around the edge and finally working the portion to the east before we hit shanks pony.

Anticipation was high as we finally entered the crop, 100 meters in a big black and white boar with two smaller black offsiders walked across the track in front. Weird looking sows I thought as Lid and Deacon hit the crop seconds behind them, but we will just have to live with it I suppose. No more than 5 meters in, she was on, the initial rumble and then both dogs bailing. Boof and Beau were released, both renowned holders. They both hit the boar together, a short rumble and we had number one. We threw the pig, told the dogs to get off, tied the pig, and dragged him out to the track. Liddie and Deacon were long gone by this stage, and in no time at all they were both bailing again about 100 meters away. Boof and Beau made short work of this boar also. Repeat the same scenario tie him up and drag him out to the contour. We were keeping them alive prior to leaving for the chillers.

Both the boars were black and later weighed in at 84 and 87kgs respectively. The black and white one would have been a lot heavier we thought, but maybe he was just taller. What a start, we picked them up and moved on. About 400 meters further on the dogs jumped. Sure enough another bail, we slipped the holders again and it was on this time. We thought we may have the black and white boar as we struggled through the Sudax to the pig. This stuff is virtually impossible to force your way through once it starts to fall over, matting itself together forming a nearly impenetrable barrier. We finally made it to the boar, this hog was 71kgs, with a well developed dental department and if you asked Boof, the pig knew how to use them.

By now we thought all of the pigs living in the sudax were all large boars, a dilemma we had no trouble coming to terms with at all. From what we had already caught, the prospect of having so much unhunted crop in front of us was exciting by any standards. The pigs obviously felt safe and unthreatened in the thick crop and didn’t see the need to get the hell out of there.

But, as is the case a lot of times, things went really quiet, and we were nearly right around the crop before the dogs jumped again. This time, a medium sized sow, “bloody hell” what a let down. You can’t win them all, but having said that we were still on a high from the boars earlier.

Completing the rest of the crop was uneventful, so plans were made to make our way over to the sorghum crop. We were just getting ready to move off when Don spotted three large pigs moving out of the grassy waterway and into the crop. Hasty estimates on pig sizes etc again fuelled our excitement. Early assessments, even though they were over ½ a K away put them in the vicinity of 65 to 75Kgs chiller weight.
We drove over at a leisurely pace trying not to make to much noise and scare the pigs off. They were last seen entering the bottom of the crop. All the heavy cover was over the fence at the top of the crop, so……., lets get on top of them and work back into the crop and hopefully run into them on the way to the heavy cover.

And; it worked to a tee, after spreading out about 50 meters apart we moved into the crop and ran smack bang into them in about 100 meters. The dogs grabbed two straight up, which we killed post haste and Liddy and Deacon were off after number three. They had him in no time at all catching him just on the scrub side of the fence.

The pigs turned out to be a boar and a sow just below 55kgs each and a larger boar of 66kgs. At this point in time we decided to kill and dress the other pigs we had caught earlier and call it a day. And what a day it was.

Next weekend we would be back for another bash at ‘em. The trip back to the station houses saw Dave on the end of some severe ribbing on the difference between sows and boars. One thing for sure, the next time he sees large numbers of sows the breastplates are coming out and we’re there with bells on.

Please note: The photo attached is not the pigs we caught on the trip, unfortunately I went through a stage of not taking photos. These pigs however were taken off the same property a few months prior the trip in the story.

A Stump and a Boar

The bore drain meandered through the paddock offering a constant supply of water to the stock, native animals and the ever present feral pigs. It passed through scattered clumps of lignum, big old gums with drooping branches touching the ground, large amounts of fallen timber and small clumps of younger gums. A sand ridge off to the right followed the drain about two hundred meters out. All this added up to fantastic hog cover, the added bonus being the sand ridge, a favourite place for large boars, liking nothing better than to dig large holes in the sand, deep enough to find the cool sand that would offer some relief from the intense heat.

We were hunting from a soft top Daihatsu 4X4 with the top removed allowing someone (me) to stand in the back, offering a higher vantage point to spot the pigs more readily. It also had the added bonus of allowing the dogs an easy exit when pigs were spotted.

It was now mid afternoon and being the middle of January the temperature was well over the 40 degree Celsius mark. Being so hot kept the pigs close to the drain, some were wallowing in it, others laying in the heavy shade not far from the water or as stated before lying at the bottom of a recently excavated hole in the cool sand.

We had been following the drain for over ten Kilometers and to say pigs were plentiful would have been an understatement. We were striking mobs or single boars about every 15 minutes. Gobby, my brother Jon and I were nearly run to a standstill, but as always the lure of a bigger boar just up ahead kept us focused and keen.

The hounds were also reasonably keen, but three hours of constant hunting, as well as a few hours first thing that day had taken the shine off a little. There is nothing like bouncing through rough Black Country in a short wheel base. If it wasn’t loose before you started it wasn’t long before it was.

A small clump of gums ahead looked promising, being right on the edge of the drain and a few lignum bushes growing on the outer edge; it would nearly be a dead certainty. With a hundred yards still to go, discussions revolved around it being a sure thing and even going as far as trying to estimate the weight and tusk size of the boar that resided there.

We were nearly there when the beast materialised, size wise was disappointing (expecting a monster) but on the positive side he had six mates with him. No where near as large as in the previous discussions but numbers made up for any disappointment, a bachelor party, rudely interrupted by some ill mannered pig hunters. The boars’ weights ranged from around 50 to 65kgs and more than enough to get us excited.

The boars bolted, mostly in the one direction but on the other side of the drain. I jumped with the dogs, who immediately grabbed two boars. I killed one as quick as I could, and got the dogs off after the mob. By this time they were running parallel with the drain. Gobby and Jon had disappeared along the drain in the vehicle, obviously after the pigs but with no dogs. It wasn’t long before the dogs had nailed another boar. I killed the second pig from the initial catch and took off to help the first dogs with number three. After killing him, the heat by now was unbearable and the dogs were really feeling the effects.

I decided to head back to the drain around hundred and fifty meters away and give the dogs a cool down and a drink. I planned to sit in the shade and wait until the vehicle returned. After about 15 minutes and still no sign of the others I started walking along the drain. I walked for around fifteen minutes and still not a clue to where they went. Time for another rest, knowing sooner or later they would turn up.

Finding a suitable log in the shade I settled in. Shortly after, the sound of someone chopping wood could be heard about five hundred meters away. It could only be Gobby and Jon I thought and started heading over to the sound. On arrival I found them chopping a stump out from under the vehicle. Jammed directly below the drivers seat was a boar around the 55kgs mark and by this stage very dead.

Getting into the situation they were now in, started with Jon jumping in the back after I took off after the mob. They planned to drive up the drain, level with the dogs and help me. This particular boar however, crossed the drain to their side, so they decided to follow it and try and turn it back into the dogs. They chased it for nearly a kilometer before he slowed and charged the vehicle. When he hit the vehicle initially, they drove straight over the top of him. Jon, standing in the back was giving Gobby updates on what the pig was doing.

The pig charged again and the vehicle went over the top, again. Jon yelled to Gobby that the boar was back on his feet. Slamming the vehicle into reverse Gobby hit the boar with the tow bar. On impact the vehicle was launched into the air coming to rest on top of a stump, the rear wheels just touching the ground, and a very irate boar still alive under the driver’s door.

The boar was killed, and then the difficult task of getting the vehicle off the stump with a very blunt tomahawk (used for cutting jaws out of boars and not sharpened for ages). Needless to say it took forever and we had certainly had enough by the time we finished. If the jack had been higher we could have managed it a bit quicker, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Even over the years this still remains as an all time favourite yarn when talking hogs and dogs.

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