Published in the Rains County Leader on September 24, 2019:
Anyone who has lived in Texas for any length of time, unless they live in the city where they are surrounded completely by cement and asphalt, knows that feral hogs are a big problem in the Lone Star State. I didn’t know that much about these destructive creatures until the spring of 2018 when they decided to invade our backyard. If you were reading City Girl back then, you know that they provided material for half a dozen columns, but that was the only good thing about them.
For several months they made nightly raids, rooting up what little grass we had in search of acorns and other goodies and generally making a mess. Sometime in mid to late summer, they moved on, either because David shot one and six more ended up in a trap or because the food supply at our place was about tapped out. Thirty to forty pigs can do that to a little over two acres pretty quickly.
Whatever the reason, we didn’t have any more visitations until this spring. Even then, David spotted only minor damage toward the back of the lot near the creek, and then only for a few days. As the season wore on, though, we began to hear reports from several neighbors about pigs in their yards. None of their invasions compared with what we suffered last year, but since most of their yards are not as landscape challenged as ours, they were still concerned.
My across-the-street neighbor, Connie, was the most upset, because she has been nursing a lot of fruit trees and veggies that she doesn’t want to share with the local wildlife. She told her son Jon, an avid hunter, about our problem, so he and his buddy decided it might be a good time to spend a long weekend in Texas. In spite of lack of evidence, we put a couple of game cameras in the yard. If there were any pigs, they didn’t pose for us, but the guys decided to come anyway.
A few weeks before they were due to arrive, a Facebook friend posted pictures of half a dozen pigs chowing down at their deer feeder. I put her in contact with Jon, and she gave him permission to come and hunt at her place. It’s about a ninety minute drive from here, so he only went once with no success. He spent the rest of his time scouting around Rains County and visiting with Connie. His buddy, on the other hand, spent most of his time there and bagged four of the beasts. They went home with coolers full of meat and left a happy mother behind.
As if to thumb his snout at the hunters, a huge black boar ran across Connie’s yard while Jon and his friend were packing their truck for the trip home. They tracked him across the street into our yard and down into the creek, but they lost him in the underbrush and didn’t have time to pursue him further. We got the last laugh, though.
The trapper that helped us out last year has developed health problems and never came back to get his trap. It’s a fairly big contraption with posts that are sunk firmly into the ground, so it has remained in place and has become a trellis for wild vines and briars. While here, Jon cleaned it up a bit and reset it. I didn’t expect any results, but it didn’t hurt anything to try.
Then, Friday the 13th, while I was at the Fair, David texted me a note that said, “Look what you caught.” Sure enough, there was a picture of a black boar, trapped inside something I had thought was useless.
“So now what?” I replied. The hunters were long gone by then, and even though I’ve heard of people keeping pot-bellied pigs for pets, I didn’t think Kitty needed a sibling.
“Waiting for you to get home and clean it.” Right! Like that’s gonna happen. By the time I closed my book booth and arrived home, Connie had found someone who wanted our uninvited guest, and the pen was empty again.
Of course, the news got around, and neighbors thanked us for getting rid of at least one pest. David has since reset the trap, and we’ve been putting food scraps in it from time to time. We haven’t seen any more activity, but hopefully, the smell of captivity and fear will linger long enough to insure peace at least for a little while.