Published in the Rains County Leader on April 24, 2018:
City girls don’t know about pigs. We know that they can be delicious when processed and prepared properly, and we know that the pot-bellied variety can make cute pets when trained and house broken. What we don’t know, and don’t really want to know, is that wild ones can be really big and really mean and that there are approximately 2.8 million of them roaming around in Texas.
A couple of weeks ago David was doing his regular rounds of the yard, checking out the kingdom, when he noticed evidence of “rooting” toward the back of the lot. At first, we dismissed it, hoping it was the stray armadillo that used to live – and root – under the motor home. But more and larger new spots appeared, and we began to suspect the worst – pigs!
We wanted to be sure, so we borrowed a game camera from our neighbor, Connie, and David set it up near the most damaged area. The first night, the camera took four pictures, but they were all black except for a branch waving in the top of the frame. The second night, there was nothing, and for the next two or three days, we forgot to check. When we finally took another look, there were pictures, lots of them. Some were of David, mowing the lawn in a cloud of dust, but most were black like the first ones. There were several, though, that had some small shiny spots that looked suspiciously like eyes.
David used the editing function to lighten and sharpen the images until silhouettes began to appear, showing the proof we had been looking for. One picture showed two pigs, and another showed at least five. None of them was a huge boar like the one we saw running along the county road where Spike lives, but David guessed they would weigh in at around 100 pounds, give or take an ounce or two. So, now that we have confirmed the problem, we have to find a solution.
We have plenty of friends and neighbors who hunt, and I’m sure one or more of them would be glad to sit in ambush with David to rid the neighborhood of the pests. However, since the herd seems to show up between 4:00 and 5:00 am, they might not be all that glad. Besides, I’m not sure we want bullets flying around the back yard in the dark.
We have one friend who hunts with a knife, so that would eliminate the flying ammo, but he uses dogs. He says they won’t hurt anything but the pigs, unless, of course, they’re attacked. Considering the number of dogs that run loose around here, there’s no way to guarantee there wouldn’t be a canine free-for-all, so that’s probably not the best option. Regardless of which method is used, after a successful hunt, there would be one or more rather large carcasses to be disposed of. I supposed we could leave them for the buzzards, but we’ve had those scavengers roosting in our trees before, and I’d rather not.
An alternative is to trap the critters, but I understand that you only have one shot at this method. Apparently you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can fool a pig with a trap only once. And besides, once you trap them, what do you do with them? It’s not as if Animal Control will come and pick them up. I understand that there are restaurants that will buy them, but I don’t know any of the details. Connie, who is worried about her newly planted fruit trees and berry vines, is looking into that for us.
I thought I was acclimating to country life pretty well. I can flick a spider off my arm or squash a small bug without making too much of a face; I recognize the call of a hawk and the bark of a squirrel most of the time; and I’m comfortable wearing jeans to church, even on Sunday morning. But there are some things I’m just not prepared for. City girls don’t know about pigs, and I’m not sure this one wants to know!