In The Crosshairs: Bringing down Big Fellah

August 24, 2011 

Many are familiar with Giganthopithecus — a giant ape that used to roam the Asian countryside, standing about 10 feet tall.

I think my hunting group encountered the Giganthopithecus of the pig world Friday.

We'll call it "Gigantho-pig-ecus."

One of my hunting partners, 16-year-old Andrew Dooley, brought down what is possibly the biggest pig our group has ever encountered — a boar weighing in at more than 450 pounds.

The kill came the second weekend of deer season and helped redeem our hunting camp after seeing no legal game the first weekend of the season.

I got up to our ranch, which sits just south of San Jose, around 7 p.m. Friday, and I could tell the climate was just right for critters to be roaming the hillsides.

As soon as I pulled in the gate, I was met by some of my hunting party who said they'd spotted some pigs on a side hill.

It couldn't have been more than an hour after we split up when three shots rang out and the monster boar was down.

I'd been told it was a big one, but every description I heard on my way over to the kill-scene was an understatement, one of those things that can't be put into words.

The hog was a gnarly one — old and stout. His tusks had been broken off in a couple spots, but were still sharp enough to cut my hand open when I got a little too up close and personal with the big fellah.

Lucky for us, it was a downhill drag back to camp.

When we arrived back at the old homestead, it took all our strength to maneuver the beast below our hanging tree to string it up and start skinning — it took the horsepower of my Ford Ranger to actually pull it off the ground.

Somewhat surprisingly, the tree didn't topple over in the process and my truck didn't lift off the ground either.

The gambrel we use to hang animals by the hocks has a built-in scale, but tops out at 300 pounds. The meat alone came out to more than 200 pounds. The rest — including the pig's hide, which was thick enough to be used as a flak jacket — had to be estimated.

I know many folks have shot pigs weighing far more than 450 pounds, but I commonly hear that those hogs are cross-bred with domesticated ones, allowing them to grow extra big.

The bruiser Andrew shot Friday evening was pure wild hog — no gimmicks.

To top it off, Gigantho-pig-ecus was the first pig Andrew has ever killed, and very likely could be the biggest he'll ever take.

Much like the pig after it was harvested — it's all downhill from here.

Now that the ice is broken in our hunting camp, there should be a lot more action in the coming weeks.

And we won't have to wonder what's for dinner.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsun-star.com.

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