Hunting Pigs

Catching Big Angry Scrappy Boars

Author: Jesica Murphy
After 10 long weeks of recovering from surgery, along with many nights of dreaming of big, scrappy boars, I finally felt up to taking my own dogs out for a hunt. I rang up my grandad the night before asking him if he’d be able to meet me halfway so I could borrow his tracking gear, and so he could bring my dogs. He’d been running them for me while I was out of action, but I was not thinking he’d want to come for a walk, as he had gotten a 130lb-er the weekend before and stuffed up his knee.

So I didn’t think to ask him if he wanted to come, but it wasn’t long into the conversation before he asked if he could tag along. Of course I said yes because there’s no one I’d rather hunt with than my grandad. That night I drove out to mum’s and grabbed my old dog to take her for a run and to drop Lyla off to my mum. My sister-in-law came around that night and so did Mac’s mates as they had planned a hunt of their own. We had planned on an early night but the boys decided to watch the All Blacks so that plan went out the window. Thankfully, Grandad had to feed the calves at 7.30a.m. so we were meeting him at 9 a.m.The morning awoke as the first ray of light crept through the cracks of the curtains. I got up out of bed to let my old dog, Tusk, out of the kennel while Eri and I had a Milo. We were on the road by 8.30.

When we arrived grandad said to me, “Guess what!? I forgot the collars!”I replied, “Well we forgot a knife.” So, as you could tell we were off to a good start, hunting the old fashioned way it used to be. The rain had completely soaked us before we had even got onto the main ridge. Walking among tonnes of old rooting it looked like the pigs had not long gone back through it. The dogs kept getting a wind of something but the wind was dropping in and out so they couldn’t track it. They kept coming and going and we didn’t know how far or even what direction they had gone so we would have to stop and wait every time they left us.

After walking for two hours uphill in the pouring rain we came across heaps more old rooting but not a single fresh mark anywhere. We reached the top and noticed Moe and Tip had been gone for at least 20 minutes. We walked about 100m along the top flat and come across a lot of sow and sucker sign. I said to grandad, “Here we go, we’re gonna slay some suckers now.” We sat and listened as the wind swirled around us. It was so hard to hear anything over the wind and the rain drops landing on the dead nikau branches. Tip finally came back but there was no sign of Moe.
We sat for another 10 minutes thinking of how easy it would be if we had the GPS!

Grandad then decided we would split up and stand at each side of the flat as it was huge, and this weather didn’t help at all.
As soon as grandad reached the other side he yelled out to me. I couldn’t hear what he said but I ran because I knew it would be a pig. I got closer to him when I heard him say, “She’s down there, bailing.” The other dogs were almost there so I ran down to-wards where I thought she was. It was a calm, steady bail so I wasn’t sure what to expect with all the little sign around. All of a sudden the barking stopped. I stopped and listened. Had it broken? Was the pig already dead? All of a sudden the gully erupted with a huge rumble. Boy, did I miss that sound.

My legs started shaking as I tumbled down through the thick giggy-gig. I got within 20 metres and snuck in. The dogs were still being tossed up in the air and towed around in circles. I turned to Teri and said to her, “That’s a big pig!” I tried to sneak up to the pig as grandad was still a little way off and the dogs were getting tuned up. They didn’t have very good control of the pig as he was still full of energy. I stepped out from behind the tree when his ass was towards me. He spun around.I could see in his eye he had me lined up. He opened his mouth and come for me. Both Moe and Tip hanging on an ear each slowed him down just long enough for me to get out of the way. I stood back and Grandad finally showed up. He took off his raincoat and walked straight in. Things were getting intense. The dogs were getting thrown around. The boar felt the pressure and shook the dogs off. He was off, but with another big rumble,the dogs pulled him up again 30 metres down the hill. As soon as we got close he was off again. Grandad then said to me, “This pig’s going to get away.”

Once again, the dogs pulled him in the creek. Moe was absolutely buggered so she stood off to the side while Tip and Snap swung off the boar’s ears. Grandad walked straight at the boar. The boar tried to have a go at him, opening his jaw and coming straight at Grandad. He placed his hands on the scruff of its neck, pushed it sideways and jumped straight on its back! He stuck it in the shoulder and the boar let out a daunting squeal. He was still doing circles in the creek with grandad on his back––he didn’t want to die! So, I grabbed his tail and we flipped him properly. He was buggered! The first thing grandad said was, “That’s a good pig! How on earth are we going to get that out?!” We checked the dogs over for rips. Tip had a poke in the neck and a rip on his back leg and Moe had a rip on her neck, so I had a proper look inside it to make sure she wasn’t bleeding bad. You could see her wind pipes and it had just missed her jugular! But luckily, none of them required urgent attention so we gutted the pig, took a few pics and decided on a plan of how to get him out.

We decided to put rope through the back hocks and onto a stick, grandad dragged that end while Teri and I grabbed a front leg each. We managed to get it up and out of the rugged gully. Once we were at the top we didn’t know which would be the easiest and quickest way out. Grandad and I walked the flat trying to figure out where exactly we were. The fog had completely smothered the hilltops and we couldn’t see a thing. Grandad then said to me, “Help me put it on my back.”I laughed at him and replied, “You’re not 20 years old anymore grandad.” I could see he was absolutely buggered and it wasn’t far off dark,so I told him we would hang it in a tree and get the boys to come and lug it out. We laid down a line of ferns with the silver side up from the pig all the way across the flat, so that we could find it when we came up. After work the next day, the boys came up to lug him out. It was dark before we reached it but luckily the ferns stuck out like a sore thumb and he was easy enough to find.

He ended up tipping the scales at 163lb! Definitely a hunt to remember! Wealso managed to catch most of it on film, so if you’dlike to watch it, it will soon be up on Beyond the WireProductions on YouTube.

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