A. And Doc created pigs
Once upon a time, in the fall, there were four little pigs.
Ralph saw them while hunting his stand in the bottoms across the river. There
were four. They were little. And all black. He asked EB if the pigs were fair
game and EB's reply was, "What pigs?" Then, without either huffing
or puffing, EB said, if there were pigs, then they were, for sure, fair game.
"Shoot 'em if you can".
Did Ralph see them again? Who knows but
Ralph. He'll tell us later.
The following Spring Turkey Season Bill saw the four pigs in the middle field
but didn't take a shot. They looked to weigh about 50 pounds. We'd found out
that the Houston doctor who owned the adjoining property had bought some "Russian"
piglets from somewhere around Spicewood and turned them loose on his 400,
stock-fenced, acres. Two and two, sows and boars; no manners and no respect
for fences. Now, this could have caused some huffing and puffing, but it was
too late. Pretty soon pigs were everywhere. TP&W says that pigs can breed
at six months old and every six to seven months after that. Young sows usually
have four to six piglets and older sows eight to ten. In theory a pair could
increase to 260 pigs in two years.
B. The Night Shootout. It was
a dark and stormy night.
The next fall, during deer season, Jack shot a big pig below his box on the
center ridge. He looked for it until dark and then came back to the cabin
for lights and help to find the hog. EB was at the cabin and said he would
help. Back then they'd only been on the lease one season and the lease still
had 10 members. There were quite a few of them there and everybody was armed
with flash lights and either a handgun or rifle. It was dark and overcast
and the search started around the edge of the meadow and heavy brush below
Jack's stand. After a few minutes it began to drizzle. Everybody knew the
pig was wounded and it was the first pig any of them had ever hunted. EB was
concerned about all the armament carried by hunters. Hunters that he didn't
know all that well at that time, and, who were not overly familiar with the
terrain. And they were in the dark and in the rain, looking for a big, unfamiliar
animal. EB was concerned. As they worked their way along the edge of the caliche
bluff between the river and the hill top the rain really started and they
called it off for the night. The next morning Jack found his 275 pound pig
just below the crest of the caliche bluff.
C. Dan never saw a pig
D. Pigs with a bow
Over the next few years the pigs did well. One Christmas
EB counted 25 in the middle oat field. They broke fences, damaged crops and
toppled feeders. They would crowd in under the feeders and as they pushed
in between the tripod legs their bodies would raise a feeder leg and over
would go the feeder. Some timers and legs were damaged. They came up with
a two part solution. First they welded barbed wire, loosely wound, around
the legs up to a height of about four feet. Then they cut a hole a couple
of inches above the bottom on the outside of each leg so the leg could be
nailed to the ground with a long iron spike. The spikes helped, but the barbed
wire seemed to attract pigs as a scratching post. Because of the vigorous
rubbing even empty feeders would be turned over in spite of being nailed down.
The barbed wire was removed things got a lot better. Through all of this time,
and in spite of all the work Dan did to solve the pig problems, circumstances
were such that Dan never saw a pig, dead or alive, and accused us of making
them up as an excuse to abuse the feeders. Now I find, looking through old
lease letters, that Dan did get a pig near the end of 1990. Well, it is a
good story and was accurate for the first few years.
F. Pigs in the field
Bill spent a week alone at the lease, tearing out
the cabin's kitchen floor to prepare for a concrete floor and working with
EB to put in rocks and reinforcing wire for a new concrete floor. After working
all day, he'd go to his trailer, parked next to the cabin. He'd start supper,
shower, eat and then dress for hunting pigs in the east oat field. After several
evenings a solitary, large boar was spotted 50 or so yards from the west edge
of the field. His back could barely be seen above the 18-20" high oats.
Bill stalked within 60 yards and sat down for the shot. There was a few inches
of back that gave a clear target. At the shot from Bill's .264 magnum, the
boar dropped and instead of silence, it sounded like a cattle stampede. There
was a cloud of dust heading for the south fence, and as the cloud reached
the lower oats by the fence, 15 or 25 pigs and piglets came into view and
hit the wire with a lot squeals and twanging. They had been hidden by the
18" high oats. EB came down and he and Bill struggled to drag the big
boar to within 50 yards of the fence. The ground was damp and it took several
hard pulls, with rests in between, to get the carcass moved the 10 yards necessary
for the winch cable to reach it. From there they winched the hog through the
fence, manhandled him into EB's truck and took him to the cabin. The winch
cable was run over a tree limb, the camp scales attached to the hind legs
and, with the truck, the boar was raised until the scales touched the limb.
The scale bottomed out at 300 or 350 (lets check) pounds with the boars head
and shoulders still on the ground. Bill spent the evening skinning and quartering
the pig and regretfully didn't keep the head or skull for a mount.
G. Pigs in all calibers; Pigs on the Fourth of July; in
a row; in a trap; in a trailer
What does it take to stop a Pig? Well, Jack took
the first one with a .25-06 and Bill took one with a 6.5 Mannlicher-Schonauer
that zipped through so slick that Doug, setting up wind where he couldn't
hear the bullet whomp, thought the dust behind the pig was a miss. Doing
pig control work with a rare Remington Model 720 .30-06 Bill got three
in one shot, all just a bit bigger than a football. On the Fourth of
July Ralph and Bill were approaching the tank and saw pigs in the edge
of the trees at the west field. The circled back towards EB's and came
to the pigs though the woods. At about 75 yards four or five pigs took
off towards the Doc's place. Bill got three with a Mini in .223. They
ended up as smoked ribs and sausage from Kuby's. At the Llano lease
David took three going up across a valley at 250 yards with a borrowed
Mini 14. The next week he bought one. I believe Bob and Ralph both used
a bow exclusively. EB used a Remington .222 or an '06, maybe both.
Bill also used a .45 auto. He, Ralph and Tony were walking-up dove across
the creek early one afternoon. Tony had dropped back a couple of hundred yards
to get a look along the creek while Ralph and Bill went through the woods. Bill walked back to be sure Tony'd know which
route they were going to take across the claiche hill. As Bill backtracked
around the cedar he'd just past, two pigs were making their escape across
the trail. They were about 80 yards back and just out of the woods and coming
down the hill from the south. They saw Bill and froze. Carrying his shotgun
in his left hand, he hooked the pad in his belt near his right hip, muzzle
up. His left arm crossed his chest. This gave him a rest for his pistol hand
across his left wrist. He took aim with his .45 auto and fired at the nearest
pig. At the shot went pig went down squealing like, the old saying, a pig in a gate and
the other ran back up the hill into the woods. The downed pig was hit in the spine and
squirming and squealing with the top of his back toward Bill. Far more
nervous, now, than at the first shot, Bill raised dust near the pig with two
shots before walking up and putting a bullet behind it's ear. Ralph and Tony heard the shots and noise and
came up to look the pig over. Bill left to go to the cabin and get the Jeep.
It was a long, hot, walk across the creek and two fields to the cabin. When
he returned, Ralph already had the pig field dressed. Ralph said it had been a messy
job but somebody had to do it. Besides, he got tired of waiting. He asked Tony if he thought
Bill had watched from the hill to be sure the pig was cleaned before driving
on down. He and Tony decided that wasn't the case. They weren't sure
Bill was smart enough to work out a plan like that, but they were glad that, even though he was slow,
he at least knew enough to put a cooler of beer in the Jeep. Plan or no plan,
it was the easiest pig Bill ever cleaned.
EB's took one big sow between the state road and the turn off to Black's Fort,
but his best haul was with a six foot hog-wire trap in the late spring of
1991. He'd set it next to the fence by Doc's place on the north side of the
goathead pasture. One night he caught a male and three sows. He was so pleased
with them that he decided to take them to a barbecue. Next, he caught 5 male
pigs, all 85 to 110 pounds or so. And all in the trap at one time. Now that's
pretty fierce competition for all of them to crowd in before the gate dropped.
All nine were so close in size that they could have been from the same litter.
The pigs were then penned behind EB's house for a while to feed out and were
mean enough to make a run at anyone near the pen, as Bill found out. Later
they were herded into a stock trailer and moved to Harlan's place for further
fattening up. This must have been late spring or early summer because the
fattened pigs were to be given center stage at Harlan's July BBQ. When the
pigs got to Harlan's, they were pretty rowdy. They still didn't want anybody
close to them. A colorful local, Buck, went into the covered stock trailer
with his bit of conventional wisdom that, "Pigs can't turn their heads, so
they can't bite you". Now they can move fast and they can reach pretty high
up and it turned out that one of these could turn his head enough to be a
threat. He made a rush at Buck and took a big bite on the crotch of his overalls.
There was a lot of jumping and yelling in the trailer and a lot of hootin'
and laughing outside. Buck finally got out and considered himself lucky that
that boar's aim wasn't as good as his own acrobatics. It may not have been
as close as Buck ever came to being a soprano, but it was close enough.
Tony at Llano