By Barry Wensel
Editor’s note: Everyone says pigs are dangerous, but few people can tell you first-hand. Barry Wensel can. Two different pigs came after him – both on the same day. If you head out to hunt wild hogs, listen to his story and heed his warning.
They Come Full Boar
Hunting wild hogs is a lot of fun, but this story isn’t about fun.
My brother Gene and I have been organizing bow hunts for feral hogs for twenty-plus years with absolutely no problems (see www.brothersofthebow.com). Then came March 11, 2011. I got charged not once but twice in the same day by different hogs. I beat back the first one, but the second one got me pretty good before I got him.
It was the last day of five weeks of bowhunting. The prior evening one of our friends, Bernie Finch, had shot a big boar just at dark. Early the next morning Gene, Bernie and I took the track.
I came upon the boar and Bernie shot but missed and the boar took off. I ran along behind the wounded porker to try to keep him in sight since his blood trail was petering out.
Apparently the pig decided I was too close and he turned to face me. I nocked an arrow and stood my ground. At twenty yards he dropped his head and charged. I held off until he was about fifteen feet from me to insure it wasn’t a bluff charge. He meant business and I drove a single arrow into his carotid artery angling downward. The broadhead came out just behind his opposite armpit.
A perfect shot.
But a charging pig has momentum, and he kept coming. Unable to put another arrow on my recurve bow quickly, I just threw the bow in his face and shinnied up a small mesquite tree. The boar died right under me. Wow! I have to admit I did pretty good on that one. But the next one I didn’t do so hot on.
Later that afternoon I came upon two mature sows plus seven or eight piglets at a water hole. Catching a good wind and using the terrain to my advantage I got close enough to notice the calico colored sow was lactating but the black one wasn’t. At ten yards I zipped a shaft right behind the black pig’s shoulder – a complete pass-through. The arrow was soaked in blood but to be on the safe side I waited a half hour before starting the track.
As I topped a small hill I saw her lying on her side. She looked dead and I was thankful, but just to be safe I nocked another arrow. When I got to about 20 yards she rolled up on her stomach, then crawled at an angle to face me. That should have been my first red flag warning.
I side-stepped enough to avoid the frontal angle and put a second shaft completely through her. Suddenly she spun around to face me, cutting the distance in half. We had the big stand-off. With no trees to climb, I stood my ground. She just stood there at 30 feet popping her jaws. Don’t ever show a growling dog (or hog) you’re afraid of them – but after the adventure of the morning,
it was very scary.
Here She Comes
Word must have gotten around in the pig world that they could challenge me. She dropped her head and charged. I thought it would be a false charge so I stood my ground. As she gained momentum I realized I was in trouble. With no other options I tried to brain shoot her at about five feet. The arrow knocked her off her feet but she got right up and came for me. With no time to reload I threw my bow in her face and turned to run. I didn’t take two steps and tripped over my own churning feet falling face down right into a giant bed of prickly pear cactus. It was like a bad dream.
She was taking her aggression out on my bow while I kicked at her face. One time she threw my bow right in my lap and I threw it back in her face. The bow was actually saving me because she was venting her frustration on it rather than me.
In the fight I finally regained my feet. She was standing about 10 feet away popping her teeth. I looked her right in the eye and slowly took one step towards her and reached down for the tip of the lower limb of my recurve, taking the bow away from her. I was somewhat in control again, and quickly nocked another arrow.
She started backing away and I thought she was leaving – then realized maybe she was backing up to get a running start for me again, so I sunk another shaft into her chest and she fell over dead. It was over. Wow!
Then it hit me, I was in a LOT of pain. The palms of my shaking hands were covered with hundreds of cactus thorns. Thousands more were buried in my right arm, shoulder, back, ribs, buttocks, and legs – and my arm was really throbbing.
Walking back to my pick-up point I noticed I had a single bar on my cell phone. I dialed my brother, who was four or five miles away, and said I got a hog; had to kill it in hand-to-hand combat… fell in the cactus and was covered with thousands of thorns… thought my arm might be broken… as thirsty as I’d ever been in my life.
He said, and I’m quoting, “Are you bleedin’? If you’re not bleedin’, you’re not needin’. Cowboy up. I’ll be there after dark.” That’s it – end of quote. Brotherly love for sure. You’d think on the last hour of the last day of five weeks of hog hunting, he could help a brother. What can I say?
The next day the hospital confirmed I had a fracture in my lower arm but I was lucky. I had avoided the pig’s razor sharp tusks. All I needed was six weeks of pampering and everything would be fine. I didn’t expect it to come from Gene, but he turned out to be a pretty nice guy.
A quarter century of chasing hogs and never a problem. Then I get charged twice in one day. There’s a lesson in that I’ll never forget the rest of my life – we need to respect any wounded animal because they’ll fight back. My only regret is it would have made for some great video footage… twice. If your primary weapon doesn’t do the job for you, you better make sure you have a good knife!
About Barry Wensel
Barry Wensel is the author of The Crooked Hat Chronicles, tales of his adventures and misadventures in hunting (available at www.brothersofthebow.com.) He is one of the nation’s top hunters using traditional archery equipment. Along with his brother Gene, he organizes an annual “pig gig.” (Check their website for information.) Asked why he wears his hat crooked, he says, “So the animals I’m shooting don’t think I’m looking at them.”
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