Posted by: powellpjc | January 11, 2013

The Day of Pigs

I pulled the boat out 5 days ago and we redid the bottom anti-fouling paint that was just put on last year in Subic Bay, PI. The boys there used a fairing compound (2 part epoxy) and something went wrong. With the mix, the proportions, the set time—I don’t know. Water found it’s way in and bubbles formed. More on that later.
I’ve met a lot of very nice folk here in Richards Bay and one of them, a former SADF colonel invited me on a pig hunt yesterday. Warthogs and Bush Pigs, the latter being the more formidable-small, sharp teeth that will rip your calf muscle off or cripple/kill a dog.

Colonel Eric, my minder.

Colonel Eric, my minder.


The group of hunters was large. I am guessing at 18 shooters, including me. The farmers that owned the land were there too, armed to the teeth. They wanted the pigs cleared out as they (the pigs) were doing a lot of damage to the ripening corn. The cobs are large and I would say mature, but the boys said they had a month or so to go. I am no farmer. I picked one and ate it raw and it was delightful. It is a white-kernelled variety and almost perfect. I think it will be a little sweeter in a week or so. Nevermind.
We were two groups, both with hounds. They use in most cases, Blue Tic hounds and whatever other dog likes to hunt/bay/howl. We were hunting in huge corn fields, with breaks every 100 metres. The hunters were stationed in the corn ranks, along the break files and outside the field (the farmers). Safety meetings were held before each cornfield was joined. Shoot down, don’t shoot a dog and shoot away from the rows of corn if you are on break in the cornfield file.
Cornfields like Nebraska, but sweet corn, not feed corn,

Cornfields like Nebraska, but sweet corn, not feed corn,


I wasn’t too keen to enter the immense rows of corn having seen too many movies of ‘Child of the Corn’ etc. so I was a break-line boy, with an old but well-maintained service revolver, a .38 Special. We all had FRS radios. My minder, the colonel, stationed me in every field where I might get lucky. Unfortunately, all communications were in Africaans, the only word I know, ‘Ya’, meaning ‘yes’ of course. I kept the volume down and eyes open. The other boys had .308, 30-06, .303 rifles and the majority with 12 gauge shotguns. No plugs.
Pete, a fellow hunter, and the dog owner/handler. All  the dogs have gps collars and he is trying to locate them with his transceiver.

Pete, a fellow hunter, and the dog owner/handler. All the dogs have gps collars and he is trying to locate them with his transceiver.


A Blue Tic hound and me and my thundering .38 Special.

A Blue Tic hound and me and my thundering .38 Special.


When the hounds were loosed there would be a radio call to all hunters and the dogs scattered. When they picked up a scent, the howl/bark went out, and if they were on a hot trail it just intensified. The hunters moved in to the sound. Not me. I’m a break-line boy and happy to listen and watch. The hounds’ howling would increase if they were close to a pig and crescendo when they had the beast bayed. Shortly thereafter, there would be a shot and the hounds cut their noise.
I was close to the Bush Pig on 4 occasions, but could not get a clear view so held fire. Two corn rows over, but the corn stalks are very leafy and hard to see through. It was exciting. When the proper hunters bagged one there was much animated debriefing.
The colonel waiting in the 'millies' as they call the corn rows. All radio chatter was in Africaans.

The colonel waiting in the ‘millies’ as they call the corn rows. All radio chatter was in Africaans.


The dead pigs went to the dog owners. The hunters could/would buy butchered meat from him. The hunters received no recompense from the farmer. The farmer received nothing except fewer pigs to destroy his crop.
During the drives between fields and whilst the dog owner was tracking his dogs (GPS collars) we drove through some lovely landscape and saw plenty of game. Eland, wildebeest, hartebeest, reebok, jackal and brilliant song birds.
No, I didn't shoot him but I do have a more manly weapon.

No, I didn’t shoot him but I do have a more manly weapon.


At the end of the hunt (when the dogs were exhausted) there was the traditional braai (bbq) and beer with a big bonfire. We were up in the high veldt and it was misty all day so the fire was nice.
The high veldt and misty.

The high veldt and misty.


The after-hunt braai and bonfire.

The after-hunt braai and bonfire.


The pigs are killers. The vet is taking care of this poor fellow who got chewed in the ass.

The pigs are killers. The vet is taking care of this poor fellow who got chewed in the ass.


Dead pigs (14), live dogs and a poser.

Dead pigs (14), live dogs and a poser.


Sometimes the piglets are captured. This chap has 3 others at his house so he will nurse the little fella.

Sometimes the piglets are captured. This chap has 3 others at his house so he will nurse the little fella.


So, now I have hunted in Africa. Who woulda thunk?

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