Hog story one for the record books

Karl Terry, Portales News-Tribune Managing Editor

Have you seen Hogzilla II, a.k.a. Monster Pig?

I’m not talking about the latest horror thriller — though I guess that’s on the horizon — I’m talking about the feral hog reportedly weighing in at 1,051 pounds killed by an 11-year-old boy in Alabama with a pistol last month.

The pig was said to surpass the previous record for a feral hog, set when an animal nicknamed Hogzilla was killed a few years ago by a guide on a Georgia game plantation. Forensics experts from National Geographic dug Hogzilla’s remains up several years later to verify its size, which turned out to be closer to 800 pounds, not the 1,000 pounds that had been reported.

After a month of disbelief by many, Hogzilla II was determined to have been a domestic pig that was sold to the Alabama game farm where it was hunted. So that record is clouded in controversy — yet the boy’s family has 500 pounds of sausage, dubious fame, a Web site devoted to promoting the porcine beast and a role in a horror movie planned about Hogzilla for the young man, to show for the effort.

I have done a little hunting in my time but never on a preserve and never for feral pigs. However, I know a few things about hogs and I’ve had at least one nightmare experience that might qualify for a scene in the movie.

It all started one day, on the family farm west of Portales, with a bored 9-year-old who seemed to have nothing better to do than torment his little sister.

My sister had some cats in the feed room of a barn where we kept sows getting ready to have pigs. For some reason the old dairy barn was partially sheetrocked and had a sheetrock ceiling. Out of meanness, I threw the pan in which she’d been feeding the cats through a hole in the ceiling.

After an appropriate amount of time tormenting sister, I agreed to climb up the feed sacks into the ceiling and get the cat pan. Once up there I tossed it back down and told my sister I would be right back, I had a great idea.

In the next room was the biggest, meanest old sow that has ever come through this county. I would never claim she was 1,000 pounds, but to a skinny 9-year-old, she seemed like 800 pounds at least.

No one on the farm went into the same enclosure with this old sow without a two-by-four in their hands. She always had upwards of a dozen pigs in each litter but never raised a one. In short, this hog was more trouble than she was worth in my opinion.

My bright idea was to stomp the ceiling above that old sow and scare some sense into her. I had never walked across a sheetrock ceiling before and had no idea how much weight it would hold or that most people moving around in a ceiling, walk around on the ceiling joists, not the drywall.

As I dropped through the ceiling of that barn in a cloud of dust, my life flashed before my eyes. I could see myself on the floor of the barn with a broken leg, unable to move as the sow ate me alive.

Amazingly, no limbs were broken and the sow was startled enough that she ran into another room of the barn. I jumped up and dove head-first over a panel in front of an outside door. I think I was relatively uninjured until my chin made contact with a large caliche rock at the end of the dive. I bled like the veritable stuck hog and still have a slight scar to show for my acrobatics.

Now, you may claim this story is full of baloney or just the case of a columnist hamming it up so he can bring home the bacon with his writing. But, I, like the folks who endured naysayers over the authenticity of Hogzilla and Hogzilla II, am sticking to my story.

Karl Terry is managing editor at the Portales News-Tribune. Contact him at 356-4481, ext. 33 or e-mail:
karl_terry@link.freedom.com