As stated in our last post, we took our grandsons fishing this last Saturday. Here’s one of them holding up a bass (the other is in the background – poor soul, he didn’t catch a thing – but got caught by the mud flats. We had to go and rescue him – nearly lost a shoe. That is he nearly lost a shoe. Us being the ‘wise old grandpa’ had mud boots on . . . while his younger sister, too light to sink in the mud, circled around him like a drifting butterfly looking down at his sunken feet, saying: “You ‘tuck.”
After we were done fishing (catch and release), we headed up through the woods to my buddy’s house. It was dark by then, and we could hear somebody yelling. You can read all about this in my last entry.
It was kinda crazy then – my friend had shot himself “a hawg” (though technically it was a sow of the Razorback clan – or one of them durned hybrids). We get up to the house and all and there he is: “I done shot a hawg! She’s down there – ,” (waving vaguely towards the murky darkness of the night time woods) – “and she’s got piglets with her.”
Well oh boy, that was it. The kids had wanted to see one of them “damned hawgs” that everyone was so uptight about – talking about how dangerous they are and how they’ve been coming into the yards – scaring a grandmother and her children a few weeks back (this was a BIG hog, a true one) – and startling the disabled woman who lives with my friend. They keep pet chickens – she came out to find a “big hawg” standing between the coops. Had it thought it was boxed in – it would’ve got her, using its (estimated) three inch tusks. (That one’s still ‘on the loose’ – one of many wild pigs out there.)
Anyway, we head through the woods – the grandbaby riding on her father’s shoulders, the two little boys trotting ahead – flashlights wavering and lantern dancing – my buddy’s the one carrying the gas lantern and leading this little parade – and behind him he’s got the girl who helped him bring this one down, because he’s got a “front end loader” – meaning a muzzle loader – which means he got just one shot. Hate to think what would have happened if the girl hadn’t been there (she carries a muzzle loader, too) – because when his bullet failed to bring the big pig down, she shot it too, delivering the killing blow.
So now we stumble on this big sow – and yes, it had some piglets. They are afraid, but cower to their mom – their big ol’ dead mom – she’s still warm – while our flashlights play around them.
“Somethings gotta be done,” my best friend says and I’m in grim agreement . . . and begin shutting down.
“Get those children outta here,” he says, backing them away. The teenage girl takes them and they huddle – just a few yards away in the grass. And we begin.
Anyway . . .
This is the hog he shot:
He is holding his hand even with the momma’s nose – just to give you some idea of how long it was (about five feet). To the side there you can see one of the piglets . . .
Did you notice the BIG HOLE though in momma’s side? All of the OTHER baby piglets were gone – the one’s we chased through the night, beating the straw – the poor babies kept circling back to their mother (something you could count on), expecting her to defend them. Something came and got them – and ate this big hole in the side. We’re thinking it was coyote – but we’re wondering . . .
would one pig eat another one? A dead one? Are they kind of cannibalistic and such? Just wanting to know because we read where these things will kill fawns and eat them (as well as anything living in the ground – mice, rabbit, squirrel, and any ground nesting bird’s eggs and their fledglings) – ruining the forests and countryside. Might explain why we ain’t see many deer around. They are scared of these things – and they have reason to be.
I know for a fact: a fallen human in a crowd of pigs is dead meat sometimes – cuz’ them bastards will come and eat you. They truly would. They are omnivorous – and will eat anything provided it’s edible – and some things that are not. And they are SMART, pigs are. As smart as a dog sometimes – maybe even smarter.
But I also noticed something else – something I had suspected. There were fire ants nearby – the mother pig’s face was crawling with them. The thing had already begun to stink – drawing more predators in. It wouldn’t have been long before the little pig would have gotten it.
She had a FAT face, too . . .
She’s even kinda cute and friendly looking, ain’t she? But this pig would stomp you into the mud, biting and chewing at you in a moment – in a heartbeat – and they can run 30-25 miles an hour. Amazingly enough, we couldn’t find their “bolt speed” – that is, the speed in which they can ‘bolt’ out of a ‘hole’ – which is much faster. One guy (an expert in the field – supposedly) puts it at about 70 mph. THAT’S fast to have some three to four hundred pound animal after you. Especially when you can’t run real good because you’re getting old – and Marine Corps disabilities have caught up with your ancient ass . . .
But . . .
It had been bothering me. That one of the piglets might have gotten away. Which was why I insisted on coming back – to see what predation might have occurred, and to make sure we hadn’t let one go. The idea of it suffering out there – alone with its dead momma and all kinds of other things – the fire ants and such – alone in the pitch darkness without even the warmth of her side – nothing but lonesome darkness and the smell of blood . . . it must have been a horrible thing.
I couldn’t face killing another baby; not this one, not today. I just wanted to take him (or her) home. So I grimly told my friend:
“You know what’s gotta be done.”
And in his look of confusion, I told him:
“Just like the last time. Knock him out, then cut his throat. ‘al Quida’ him.”
And so my friend did. And we stood by and made sure he did a good job. Making it quick and things – and then we stood up and took the piglet and held it up by one leg – the back leg – so the blood would drain out of him rather quickly. He was warm and it hurt and so we were sad.
Here’s a picture of him after the deed was done. I laid him beside his momma; just like we found him. Only this time he was dead.
But I really wanted to take it home. (sighing) Baby pigs . . . they (as most babies are – it’s in our genetics – the oversized ‘dome’ of the forehead; ‘overly’ large eyes – close spaced features – it’s all a ‘trick’ on the part of genetics, our environment (you are taught to love such stuff) and by our evolutionary heritage to take care of such things that have ‘baby-like’ (and therefore socially taught as ‘cute’) – features . . .
And I would have ate him in a year.
Like I keep telling my friend (who has fallen in love with his chickens – he raises them as pets, doesn’t eat a single one):
“Don’t fall in love with your food.”
But it’s kinda hard not to love a pig. Especially when he’s a baby like that one (those ones) were. Cute little creatures . . . who grow up into monsters of the habitat – destroying other creatures, devouring their young . . .
kinda like we do.
Funny, ain’t it.