Feral Hogs and Trail Dogs

Speaking of tough neighbors… try feral hogs. Tough little suckers. Actually the adults are between 100-300 pounds, and get pretty tall in the shoulder, so I guess “little” is the wrong word.

Two of my dogs have gotten into scraps with feral hogs recently. We’re on a small swatch of 5 or 6 houses on acreage surrounded by a vacant acreage belonging to the US Army Corps of Engineers (Grapevine Lake), the city Nature Center, and the city equestrian trails.

In short, it’s woods in every direction… nice for riding but equally nice for hogs to hide out. There’s a couple of acre strip next to my house that the pigs have been traversing nightly starting at about 7 pm (they’re nocturnal) to get to the Nature Center. Trust me, the dogs let me know when they start their run.

The Nature Center

I used to ride that acreage the nature center is on before they opened it officially. Ran into the doyennes of the Parks Dept out there, and they almost blew a gasket. “You cant ride a horse here… this is a nature center“. Apparently to them that sentence made sense. Obviously horses aren’t natural.

It has lots of nice plants recently added by the apparently not so bright nature center ladies. [The hogs have declared them “tasty”.] These must be the same folks that posted signs at the entrance to the city section of the trails saying you should clean up after your pets and keep them on a leash. If they can ride a horse while holding a dog leash they’re ahead of me.

The Trails

We’re talking primitive trails here, not a golf course. Miles of oaks, poison ivy, snakes, vines, and honey locusts with 6″ thorns. I’m not getting out of the saddle to make sure the dog doesn’t cross contaminate the deer and rabbit scat, pig poop, and raccoon, possum, and squirrel feces. Wonder if they consider the horse a pet?

Oh well, the signs provide great entertainment for every rider that goes past. I even see some of the (yes, unleashed) dogs laughing. Who knew they could read?

Cherokee on the Trails - No, I didnt bag anything afterward
Cherokee on the Trails - No, I didnt bag anything afterward

Animal Control to the Rescue

Animal Control guy from the city (great guy by the way) came by the other day… stopped out front. Asked if I’d been seeing the hogs. Actually only SEEN ’em once, ran across a sow and 5 piglets while riding. Other than that I’ve seen signs of ’em all over the place. They can plow a field better than a roto-tiller.

Much of this area once included pig farms, there’s still remains of one out near the trails on private property nearby. Guessing they mighta been the forebears of the super-foragers here now.

Anyway, he says they’re gonna start trapping/hunting ’em soon in response to complaints (apparently from the ladies at the Nature Center). Gotta love it… they get pissed because nature showed up at a nature center. Next they’ll wanna move the deer crossing signs to a safer place to cross.

But according to an article I ran across, not only is this hog thing a very common problem all over Texas… they mention nature centers as being a common target. See Link. Guess pigs can read signs too.

Oh Yeah, About the Dogs

Anyway, JD the one-eyed wonder dog got into it with the hogs this afternoon on the trails. She pretty much got away with a few cuts. She also got slimed on the back when they couldn’t sink teeth into that dragon-skin of hers. From the looks of her gums she gave better than she got. She’s absolutely bone tired though, I let her come in, she’s sleeping it off beside me on the couch.

Fred on the other hand wandered up tonite after a bout. Right leg pretty chewed up… he’s inside sleeping it off too. Second time the pigs got that leg, and they got the left this time too. Just applied a lotta Schreiners (aka: “vet in a bottle”) over his objections. He says that stuff burns.

Maybe back in the day he could handle a hog, but he’s long in the tooth for that stuff now. He needs to quit jumping the wire to get into fights with wild critters. May offer him one of the rocking chairs and talk him into retiring.

Gotta give him credit… lost track of how many times he’s pulled through scrapes. The vet once wanted to amputate his leg (we declined)… said he’d never be able to use it. Six weeks later he was hopping fence like a deer. Fred’s made of the same stuff they make the black box on the airplane out of. He’s a little old, but the boy’s indestructible.

If You’re Still Here

If you’re still reading this, you really gotta find a hobby. I had no message when I started this post… just news from home. Then it occurred to me I can put this to use.

To Modie Joe Wells – Trinity High: English Teacher (1972)

Fred reminds me of Boaz Negro and his “inquenchable exuburence”. You gave me an F on that paper in 10th grade for the short story “Footfalls”. Ok, granted, I didnt actually WRITE the paper, just turned in another under a new cover and hoped to slide the real one in once finished (a fine plan til, you caught me). I realize this is 36 years overdue, but since I retained the information this long is it possible to still get credit?

BTW Modie – Ignore the elipses in my post. Don’t remember when I started that, but blame Patsy Daunis. She had me in English afterward, she’d make a fine scapegoat.

I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.
I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.

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