Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feral hog hunting with pit bull packs primeval, so human

You know how on the prairie at a certain hour of the days when the course of the ram has not fully ascended, after the time of the hunt during the rut of the stag and the strut of the turkey, then the air is filled with light and the focus of all things is just a little bit sharper, more in relief and easier to discern by the eye.

The weather is cold cold on some days and merely cool on others, but there is a hint of frost in the air on all mornings and a portent of bitter and unrelenting freeze in the evening breeze.

Long gone the miasmic airs of the summer and fall and yet to come are the sweet breezes of spring.

Now the time is right for killing the feral boar, the tush hog with bristled and scarred cape of dense slab muscle and fat on shoulders and upper back to armor the vitals of heart and lungs.

Now is the time of the flashing, hooking tushes that can rip and tear the arteries of dog and man as the feral beast succumbs at the watering spot on pond or creek and the pit bull terriers drag the beast squealing and bellowing into the water to savage its most tender tissues on nose, ear and cods.

Something primal, almost racial, fills the prairie air so sharply focused and still in the afternoon sunlight just before the dusk. Something in the mind of man and dog dominates all thought, holds all sensation in abeyance while adrenaline and pure, raw nerve takes hold of all vital signs and dictates all muscle memory and action.

It is the time of the hunt.

The real hunt it is, the one when man works closely with dogs and the sound of his voice urges them on and directs their energy so that he may approach with blade or spear point and wound the beast to bleed out his life while held so carefully in its agony inflicted so skillfully by sharp canine ivory.

Man bellows at dog, “Go, then, white bitch; get out of there, red dog; head him Spot, head him, old boy!” He is scarcely aware of his own voice as it joins the hellish chorus of death at the water hole, the day of judgment, of the hunt, of the kill.

Then the hot blood rushes out of the wound and the feral boar gives up the ghost in a sudden cessation of squalling and thrashing about in the water.

No one is sure just how many feral hogs there are fouling prime deer habitat and cattle range, but they are pests on the prairies of Texas and in the forests of the southeast as much as on the Hawaiian and another thousands of archipelagos, their droppings carrying the seed of scrub oak and other hardwoods into in the brambles, briars and bushes of cedar and short-nettle pine. It is as it is in the islands where bamboo shoots are transplanted in the boar's dung, its near-ineradicable roots taking over valuable arable croplands intended for sugar cane and pineapple.

Where do they come from? They escape the fences and pens of breeders.

They are purchased and released by sportsmen and other practical types with an eye to hard times and times of no money, of famine, economic depression, war and pestilence, when there is no way to simply obtain what one needs from grocer and warehouseman alike because all transportation and commerce has been severed by hostile lines of warring factions, fuel shortage, no money, no credit.

Within a few months, the tushes sprout, the bristles grow and the beast is feral, back to its original Russian boar breed so carefully worked out by nature on the steppes of Eurasia and in the forests of Boheme and Moravia, Germania, Gaul, and a dozen other mountainous regions shielded by alp and wide, deep rushing rivers, Asian desert, subcontinental Himalayas, deep jungles.

The species is not protected by any game laws, its management simply left to kill or be killed by its inexorable encroachment on man's agricultural improvements to his land in wallows, unintended infestation of brushy plants and the sheer nastiness of its living and ultra-prolific breeding habits on the prairies.

Many ministries of prison, low rent district, and slum take advantage of the well-meaning men of faith and good will who tramp after the beast with dog and rifle, sharp knives held at the ready with pistol and cudgel. They feast on the harvest, the poor and helpless nourished by the hunters and their dogs.

The hunters are tribal in their rites and fraternal in their relations. They are old school men of the bush, the mountain, the desert, the swamp.

They display their scars when encamped with jugs of comfort and basking in the warming firelight of the feast that comes after sunset.

“I bled,” they say, showing scars left by the tush when the hog got loose from the dog's maw and made a slashing attack at the groin, the belly, or the lower legs.

They smile. It is a knowing smile, reserved for those who know its true meaning. “I bled.”

No comments:

Post a Comment