Bush Pigs By Any Means

Eduard, the owner of the farm where Colyn and I annually hunts hogs, is a real colourful character. He is a friendly giant of a man and as hard as nails, but his heart is pure gold. Not somebody to mess with, mind you. He owns this big farm in the Waterberg Mountains and produces mainly seed mealies, groundnuts and watermelon. Now, for those of you that did not know, this is the much preferred, first choice pudding for the warthogs during the day and especially the bush pigs at night.

Big problem, as he can daily see how his harvest and profits are being destroyed right in front of his eyes!

As one of the measures to protect his harvest, he hired two guys whose sole job it is to patrol the whole day around the crops, beating a tin can while shouting and singing to deter the warthogs from visiting. At night he had a different strategy for the bush pigs. He had bought up nearly all the mongrel and other stray dogs from the surrounding villages. Here he got about 40 odd dogs of every description, breed, size and any mongrel in between that you can think of. The dogs were kept in kennels next to the fields.

At night it was two other blokes only job to protect the harvest by patrolling with this pack of misfit dogs. As they were not fighters, and bush pigs definitely are, the dogs kept close-up and next to the patrollers most of the time during the pitch black nights. Their smell and barking were enough to keep the bush pigs at bay for a while. These two guys were each armed with a heavy sharpened 6ft iron rod spear. In the beginning, when the dogs smelled the hogs, the smaller fox terrier crossings would be the first to charge the bush pig pack, with the bigger dogs in tow.

In the resulting chaotic skirmishes in the dark, some dogs as well as hogs were killed and others injured by the opposition, by each other, as well as by the spears. Later on the dogs were so afraid of the ferocious bush pigs that they would flatly ignore the hogs, or at the most give a yelp or whimper when they smell them while on their nightly patrols. The workers would then start to shoutand making a big racket to scare the hogs away.

They told me the fun really started after about 2 months when there were only about 18 dogs still alive out of the original pack. A new batch of about 7 smaller mongrels was all that could be found in the further outlaying villages. That first 2 weeks the new pack again attacked the bush pigs, which at this stage were not afraid of any dog at all anymore, and at most deem them to be an irritating nuisance. Now when these new dogs burst on the scene full of bravado and vigor, the hogs had had enough of this and actually started to chase the dogs!

Now this is where it became hairy, as the dogs then ran straight back to their protectors the other experienced non hunting dogs and the two patrollers --with the hogs in close pursuit! Now just imagine this; it's dark, a lot of milling bodies, dust and noise, -- definitely not for the faint hearted!

As could be predicted, only the 11 worst of the worst cowardly [or clever?] dogs were still left standing after a fortnight. One of the patrollers even has to be rushed to hospital after he got in the way of yet another nightly attack on the dogs. The help of all willing neighbours and friends were called in, and nightly patrols from vehicles with spotlights and guns were undertaken on these by now rouge and fearless hogs. During one of these nightly patrols, at about 9; 00 pm Eduard took another helping friend with a newly acquired night sight scope on his 30-30 lever action in his car to drop him off at the groundnut field.

On their way, when they rounded a corner in the long grass, they suddenly saw in the cars headlights a family of about 8-9 bush pigs, also on their way towards the ground nuts field for their customary nightly raid.

In a flash the car was stopped and the guy with the gun jumped out, cocking the lever. The hogs were between the wire fence and the open two track dirt road with the car and headlights, in hip high long grass. It was pitch-black outside of the headlights and the dust was also just settling down, making visibility very poor. Meanwhile the guy with the gun ran to the front of the car and is merrily blasting away at any movement in the grass.

Eduard by that time was standing at the back of the car to be out of the line of fire. Suddenly he saw a movement between the fence and the car in the grass on its way towards him. Not wanting to let any wounded bush pig get away; he picked up a little branch and hammered the pig a good one as it came up to him.

A few second later he saw that it was still alive and moving, so he vent some of his pent up frustration at these nightly menaces by whacking it another good one again.

By this time the shooters magazine was empty, and everything came back to normal. They could still heard the grunting and squealing of the surviving hogs that had escaped back under the fence and retreated into the night. Nobody got a torch, and the night sight is no use in the headlights, so they just turned the car around to enable them to see through the grass where all the shooting took place.

They found one smaller bush pig dead and the sign of a possible second wounded one that also went under the fence. Eduard insisted that another wounded one came his way, and that he wacked it two good ones. On turning the car around, and lo and behold-what would they find? Not one, but TWO dead bush pigs lying side by side in the grass next to the road, and none of them wounded at all!

We reached the farm the very next morning to also help our friend out with the problem animals, and I can firsthand verify that the small branch was in fact a huge log.

It just goes to show, that when the adrenalin is pumping, your strength really multiply many times, much more so if you are a really big, strong and determined man!

By Willem Pretorius

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