|photo by Douglas Gasner, text by Claudia Dowling LIFE 1986|
Feral hogs are bad for Missouri. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) continues to work towards eradication of the hogs that decimate wildlife habitat and crops. But, a spokesman said, when asked where to hunt feral hogs in Missouri MDC’s standard response is, “If you want to hunt feral hogs go to another state.’’
He said well-intended “hog hunters’’ typically are unsuccessful or may remove only one or two hogs in multiple attempts. The hunters’ presence and activities may cause feral hogs to leave an area, which can disrupt many weeks of baiting and trapping efforts by MDC staff, he said. “It causes us to have to start the process of scouting, surveillance, pre-baiting conditioning and trap building all over."
They should have imported Pepito and his pack of pig dogs from Kauai, Hawaii. The boar jaws on the door of his shack were testimony to the animals that met their end at the point of his knife.
And yet, I can't help wanting a wild piglet like the one my friend Jim had in Hawaii. He named him Pepito, and Pepito the human returned the favor by naming one of his dogs Jim. Pepite was the smartest animal I've known—smarter than the dogs he thought he was, a better swimmer, a more interesting and faithful companion.
It was a terrible thing when he hit puberty. He trotted down to the nearest canine neighbors for a hookup. They were Kala Kapa'hoo's pig dogs, and they tore him to pieces. My friend Jim, himself a pighunter, wept as he butchered his pet. He gave all the smoked meat away.
Note to MDC: If you catch a piglet, I'll take it. Female preferred.