1. Pigs

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
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.

D. Pigs with a bow
Ralph's stories

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

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You'll see headings with no story. They haven't been written yet. I'm waiting to talk to the guys that were there.

If you remember any details better than are written, email the edited text to me. If your recollection may not be accurate, join the club. (-CRS-)

Accuracy should be just a bit less important than a good tale.


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