De Leon’s Blaine Garcia is about to put a whole new twist in the legends of Texas hog hunting after taking down a 790-pound boar hog this weekend about three miles north of his hometown.
Garcia, a Tarleton State University senior, is a long-time hog hunter, who up until this time hasn’t had a hog tip the scales at much more than 450 pounds. That all changed Friday, when Garcia sought the permission of Comanche County Commissioner Jimmy Dale Johnson to hunt his property.
Johnson had apparently been seeing signs of hogs on his place and warned Garcia if he was going to hunt with dogs, he was going to have to be careful the animals would not get onto neighbors’ places.
It was during the course of scouting the property for the first time that Garcia quickly picked up on signs of a big hog. He made a sighting of the massive boar shortly afterward.
“I did a double take. I couldn’t believed his size, and he took off running down a draw. I tried to walk up and get a better look but he kept running off as I approached,” Garcia said. “I called Mr. Johnson and asked him if he knew of any domesticated hogs that might be in the area and he told me no.”
Garcia was obviously excited after being told no one was aware of any domestic hogs that might have gotten loose. Certainly none that matched the size of this animal.
“I got on the phone and called my friend Wyatt Walton, who was in Cross Plains, and told him what I had found,” Garcia said. “Once he arrived on location we began to work a 20-acre area with two catch dogs.”
Garcia went one way into a ravine while Walton went to work another part of the property. As Garcia and his dog began working down the ravine he noticed the large hog had made a lot of mud wallows he compared to the size of bathtubs.
“My dog started whining and wanted to be let loose,” Garcia said. “There was the distinct smell of wild boar hog and you could smell it even more as we began to work up a brushy hill. When I had almost topped it I could see him moving toward us and around, so we got by a big oak tree and kind of hid behind it.”
Well hidden and downwind of the boar, Garcia and his dog bided their time until the animal was about 10 yards away.
“I let the dog loose and the hog had no idea we were there until the dog hit him and tried to catch him on the ear,” said Garcia. The only problem was the boar was so big the dog was only able to grab it on the jaw and the battle was on.
“The pig was really squealing and running around in circles and I’m hollering for Wyatt to come running, and he’s probably about 400 yards away,” the hunter added. “The hog is trying to get down the hill and rake off my dog, but Wyatt and his dog got there just in time.”
Having bagged hundreds of hogs with Garcia, Walton could tell something special was going on just by the excitement level he heard in his friend’s voice.
“When I first saw him, Blaine’s dog looked like an earring or some kind of jewelry hanging off the hog’s head, but it really wasn’t until we got ahold of the hog that I realized how big and powerful this animal was,” Walton said. “We’ve tied hundreds of hogs and there has never been anything like this boar.”
While Walton’s a big man, he doesn’t pack the 285 pounds on his frame (245 now) that he did when he played four years of football at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene. Still, he knows about power.
Garcia laughs as he described thinking about grabbing one of the hog’s legs, but it was so large he had to settle for the tail. Walton did grab a leg, and together they attempted to flip the hog onto its side.
“I will bet that it took us over five minutes to finally get him on his side and both of us were lying on top of him trying to tie him up,” Garcia said. “We had some nylon rope, but he was so strong that he began to stretch it out and we knew we were going to have to try something else.”
The solution lay in stronger ties, but that meant splitting up again. It was easily decided who was running to the pickup since Walton was the power and Garcia was the speed.
Leaving Walton on top of the struggling hog, Garcia sprinted to his truck, and drove it as close as possible to the area. Then together, the two hunters used ratchet straps to further bind the hog until he was almost immobile.
“He was incredibly strong; we had three legs tied together and he still tried to stand up,” Garcia said. “Together, Wyatt and I probably weigh a little over 430 pounds; it was like we weighed nothing.”
The struggle between men and hog left everyone worn out and shaky.
“We were so tired I thought we were going to puke,” Garcia laughed. “There was no way we were going to be able to get him onto a trailer by ourselves – we were so tired.”
They sought out the help of fellow hunters Zach Ryon and Ray Chupp, and used a four-wheeler and a 2500-pound winch to put the massive animal on an 8-foot trailer. All-in-all, it was about a four-hour long process that Garcia said went surprisingly smoothly.
It didn’t hurt having several long-time hog hunters on hand, all of which were amazed at what was in front of them.
They took a few quick pictures, then transported the hog to a nearby well so they could begin cooling him off to reduce his chances of dying from stress. Then it was off to Golden Oak Milling in De Leon for weigh-in on the scales. Driving in, their rig weighed 6800 pounds. After unloading the hog, they went back and reweighed the rig, which was now 6010 pounds — a difference of 790 pounds — a very big pig.
So what’s next for the big porker? Perhaps a trip to a game ranch in Tennessee. For now, the boar is in Clyde where it will be fed and prepared for sale.
However, before that, the animal has to be quarantined and tested for worms and other diseases. A veterinarian will draw blood to ensure the animal can be shipped out of state.
If all goes well, Garcia and Walton could bank about three dollars a pound for their boar, which would come to just short of $2,400.
“Making money off of hog hunting is pretty good,” Garcia said. “But it’s really about the whole experience. It’s something I’ve been doing a long time, and it’s fun every time.”
The best wrap to this tale is the boar is still on all fours, and there’s no doubt this is one BIG HOG!