My buddy Jermz and I separated ourselves from the group and were way downstream from the campsite trying our luck. Jermz and I both relish in the solitude and make every conserted effort to have no one around...and we almost succeeded.
We were on a narrow part of the river and were well on our way to getting skunked. Nothing was hitting, so we just took in the scenery. On the far bank from where I was standing, an awful commotion began. It started with several dogs barking as if Satan himself were standing them down. Then came the sounds of brush and weeds being beaten with frenzy. A wild hog was fighting with a pack of hunting dogs. Yelps, squeals, grunts, and growls echoed down the river.
Then came the chase...
Feral hogs are everywhere in middle and east Tennessee. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about them.
Domestic pigs can escape and quite readily become feral, and feral populations are problematic in several ways. They cause damage to trees and other vegetation, consume agricultural crops, feed on the eggs of ground-nesting birds and turtles, and can carry disease. Feral pigs often interbreed with wild boar, producing descendants similar in appearance to wild boar; these can then be difficult to distinguish from natural or introduced true wild boar. The characterization of populations as feral pig, escaped domestic pig or wild boar is usually decided by where the animals are encountered and what is known of their history. In New Zealand, for example, feral pigs are known as "Captain Cookers" from their supposed descent from liberations and gifts to Māori by explorer Captain James Cook in the 1770s. New Zealand feral pigs are also frequently known as "tuskers", due to their appearance.
Wild boar/domestic pig hybrid, displayed at Rothschild Museum, Tring, EnglandA very large swine dubbed Hogzilla was shot in Georgia, United States, in June 2004. Initially thought to be a hoax, the story became something of an internet sensation. National Geographic Explorer investigated the story, sending scientists into the field. After exhuming the animal and performing DNA testing, it was determined that Hogzilla was a hybrid of wild boar and domestic swine. As of 2008[update], the estimated population of 4 million feral pigs caused an estimated US$800 million of property damage a year in the U.S. The problematic nature of feral hogs has caused several states in the U.S. to declare feral hogs to be an invasive species. Often, these states will have greatly-reduced (or even non-existent) hunting regulations regarding feral hogs. In Missouri, no hunting permit is required for the taking of wild boar; hunters may take as many as they like with any weapon. The Missouri Department of Conservation requests that hunters who encounter feral hogs shoot them on sight.
So they go racing down the river bank (from my right to my left). and the sound fades. Shortly thereafter, our day was saved as I tied on a redruM (size 12) and started hooking into browns. The fishing became glorious as vibrantly colored trout were coming to hand with nearly every other cast.
Then another sound. Slow and subdued.
Then the slight parting of the weeds across from me.
And then, jumping into the river in front of me was a very tired hog. And this hog was swimming right for me.
This pig had his sights set right on me, and much to the humorous pleasure of Jermz. My fishing was interupted by the fact that this pig was coming my way.
He found land not six feet from me and just stood there shaking. Exausted. I couldn't fish for having to keep an eye on this thing. He wasn't Hogzilla by any stretch, but when you have an animal that is under duress within the length of a fly rod, you keep watch.
Eventually this kritter chose to slip into the brush. And I was very happy.
|Yours truly trying to make enough noise to turn the hog elsewhere. -Photo by Jeremy|