We had an interesting time this weekend. We took the grandkids out to the lake for the first time – the first time for me, anyway, my son had taken them before – but this was a different lake, and one of them caught a fish. Nice bass; about three pounds or so. We had to wade across mud flats to get there – the water has been down, and this is at one of those feeder creeks which supply the big lake up there . . .
But anyway – it’s deer hunting season, and on WMA land (Wildlife Management Agency land) – and the grownups here are all carrying a gun. But the gun isn’t for hunting some wildlife (we’ve all got licenses – it’s a Southern thing – teaching your children to hunt and shoot and how to be safe with a gun.) It’s about defending ourselves from some wildlife. The wild boar; the wild hog. They have become a problem ‘down there’. Only a blithely oblivious man – or a wildly confident one – would wander those woods without a gun (which makes me mad – those woods used to be safe to walk in.)
Now that’s not to say there’s not a lot of deer hunting going on – my ‘partner’ and friend (ex-DNR) – just bagged one the other day – and eighty-five pound doe with an muzzle loading iron firing a .45 caliber ball.
No the problem here isn’t that there aren’t enough deer, or they are coming small (I actually don’t hunt them – really don’t like them, not enough to eat – but recognize that some people do. And some people need them for their meat. They need to eat. They are simply too poor to keep putting meat on the table from the grocery store.) But I will shoot one if I come across one – at least this hunting season (haven’t been hunting in a while – a long while – like about ten or fifteen years) . . . and give them to the poor.
But anyway – we aren’t out there hunting no deer. Not this time. Like I said: we were going fishing. Taking the grandchildren along. Otherwise I wasn’t going fishing. Because I don’t eat them. And I don’t eat them because . . . they taste like fish. So I’m not going to eat them. Not unless I have to. However, I will catch them for someone (I’m into the fighting) – but would rather let them go. Which I do, and we did that day.
But after fishing we’re coming in, walking through the twilight woods with the grandchildren – barely enough light to see the wide and trodden path that leads down there to the jut of land – and we hear our friend bellowing on the other side of the cove we’re rounding . . . don’t know what it is, but know who it is – old old friend and partner who’s been living there (and whose land you have to cut across to get to the WMA land and the ‘lake’ / creek down there) – . . . and we go on up through the woods to his house . . .
And he comes up and he’s killed a hog. A big one. About 300 pounds. It had rose up from the grass – there were piglets all around – a dangerous situation, and then it had come for him . . .
That’s why we’re carrying these guns and things – I’ve got a .357 strapped to my side . . .
These damned hogs. They’re getting thick out there . . .
Everyone’s carrying guns down into the woods down there. You got to. There’s those damned hogs . . .
And they will attack you . . .
As they nearly did my old friend. Or at least one of them.
It took two shots to bring it down – it later turned out it was a sow – and he had a one shot gun. So his ‘daughter’ shot it . . . turned out it was a good thing. The ‘danged thing’ had piglets . . .
About seven of them.
And we had to go down and kill ‘them damn hawgs’.
You see, there’s the trick there: these damn things look and sound cute . . . and then they grow up.
And then they become hogs. And sows.
Do you know I read – just today, doing my research – the offspring from ONE sow can number 1000 PLUS in just five years. That’s ONE THOUSAND hogs from a single hog in FIVE YEARS.
And these things will attack you in the woods. Especially when they are defending their young. I’ve been run up a tree before – once as a very small kid (about 10 years old) – by a momma sow who had piglets growing nearby. Make you think twice when you’ve been sitting up there a few hours. About approaching a pig whose got piglets, that is. All I know is that momma sow got REAL mad and sat down there for awhile – while me and my best friend hung up there, staring down at her angry eyes, listening to her snuffle and snort – and admiring (with respectful caution and fear) – her ‘fangs’ . . . LOL!
But it’s become a problem down there. And we upset our tenderhearted grandson (even though we made the teen girl take the kids away) by killing the ‘cute piglets’. We had to cuz’ they were still milk-fed – they wouldn’t have survived – either the fire ants or the coyotes or vultures or dogs would have got at them within 24 hours . . .
So my friend banged them over the head with a stick – two grown men running around by flashlight and lantern light – one with a ‘tree’ – it was about ten foot long and three inches thick – while I ran around with my partner’s twelve inch Bowie, doing the “al Queida” thing – quickly, using my military training so they could not squeak – and while they were still unconscious.
– beating the bushes for these things which would come back towards the comfort of their dead momma (she was still warm) . . . it was a tragic thing, but the most merciful thing (I’d rather go ‘that’ way than slowly get eaten up by fire ants – or some of the other things out there – like the predators who eat their prey half alive sometimes . . .)
Then we had to spend the next six hours explaining to my tender-hearted grandson why this had to be done. He was mad, grieving (he’s only 11 years old) – and has a BIG HEART. I keep telling “You’ve got a BIG heart – and it’s NOT a bad thing – it’s a GOOD thing” – but I know this son will be hurt in life more than some, because he ‘feels’ so strongly – that big ol’ heart of his. Something precious I want to protect – yet knowing: he’s gotta grow up some time – there are hard lessons which need done – and this was one, one I am hating for giving – and yet . . . . (sigh) . . . it must be done.
Life is brutally hard sometimes; it’s good to have a heart – but sometimes ya gotta learn to ‘turn it off’ . . .
and be a baby killer sometimes.(This was one of those situations where I was and am damned glad that I am DID. “We” were able to “do that thing” – cutting those little piglets heads off – without feeling a thing. Simply bending down and over and doing it – pinning them down with one hand . . . otherwise we’d have been devastated. As it is our little ones are grim. But that’s the way they ought to be – it was a job that had to be done. And a sad one at that. But our adult mind ‘took over’ and did this thing – Matthew helping him along – and it was ‘murder’, most horrid and foul – but we did this thing, helping everyone. Cuz’ them hogs oughta – gotta be killed. They are threatening everyone – taking food from ‘babies’ (that is, the deer and their young) – and ruining everything (the damage in the woods and the lake is something startling to behold). sighing . . . wish us luck again. We are going out there again today – gotta clean up the land. After all . . . the grandchildren will be going back down in there – and there are other children living around . . . after one grandma got run into her house by a big ol’ hawg . . . we feel somethings gotta be done. Something with a gun. And we’re gonna do that thing. (and sick and hating ourselves inside – to some extant – while being grim faced about it. No fun in this; no fun at all . . .) But we will enjoy being with our friend . . .