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America’s Wild Hogs Starting to Make Impact on Art World

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Although many items are available to document the rich history of European boar hunting, little is available about American hog hunting. This hog was taken in Italy with a modern .54-caliber muzzleloading rifle made by Davide Pedersoli.

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In the world of sporting art there are sufficient representation of deer paintings, prints, plates, mugs, throws, night lights, coat racks, silverware, chandeliers,  etc.,  that I could have brought home a tractor-trailer full  of deer stuff from the 2012  Shot Show. Only very recently have I started seeing any art about U.S. wild hog hunting, although much such material has always been available about European boar hunting and the African warthog.

A Georgia hog taken with a crossbow on an all-night hunt that took place during the blue moon in June, 2010, with a TenPoint crossbow.

I have hunted both the European boar in Italy and the warthog in Africa, but my everyday hog hunting is in Georgia and Texas. These rapidly breeding creatures are also found in about half of the “Lower 48” states and in Hawaii. They are much more commonly hunted that say, moose; but there are many more depictions of moose in art than wild hogs. I am pleased to report that there is a very small positive trend to supply some artworks that do reflect this increasingly significant part of  North America’s big-game hunting.

Although close records are not kept by state agencies, I suspect that wild hogs, which may often be hunted all year with no restrictions on the numbers taken, are second only to whitetail deer as the nation’s most commonly taken big-game animal. Why then, can’t you purchase very many paintings, prints, etc. of the  sport even though they are often hunted and we need to shoot more of them?

I suppose the answer is, “They are just hogs.” Indeed, many of them are domesticated hogs that have gone wild and may be identical to barnyard species. However, where they have been out for decades they revert back to more of the appearance of the Eurasian wild boar and, in some areas, may have some wild boar ancestry where imported animals have escaped and bred with local hogs, as in Tennessee and elsewhere.

This hunt could have taken place in the Southern U.S.  from coastal North Carolina to Texas.

This hunt could have taken place anywhere from coastal North Carolina to Texas. This painting is available as a framed print from Reflective Art and may even be purchased from your local sporting goods retailer. 

The pictures show here are quite different in tone. This dog hunt for wild hogs was produced and sold by Reflective Art. This framed print may be purchased from many of the large sporting goods outlets and possibly directly from the company. Tom Hoover, the company owner,  commissions artworks and sells them as  framed prints, mugs and other decorative items. More of his materials may be seen on his website www.reflectiveart.com.

The eager hunting party departs to hunt hogs in coastal Georgia.

The second, more humorous look at “hog catching” is hanging on the wall of Mudcat Charley’s, a seafood restaurant on the Altamaha River. This restaurant is listed as located on  Ricefield Road with a Brunswick, Georgia, address; but is across the river from Darien on U.S. 17. This was done by a local artist and given to the owners. The watercolor depicts another style of hog hunting very commonly done in the South were the objective is to catch the hogs, rather than kill them. The result is that they are penned and fattened for slaughter. Smallish wild hogs, 200 pounds and less, are excellent eating providing they have been on good feed. If they have been feeding on fiddler crabs in the marsh; they are not – hence the need to “finish them off” on corn.

The return. Sometimes you get the hog and sometimes the hog gets you.

The title of this pair of paintings is named “Two Way” and seeks to document the eager hunters and dogs going out to catch some hogs from islands in the coastal marshes and their ignominious return. The reality is that numbers of these hogs are in the 200-pound range, some are taken every year that weigh over 600 pounds and they have been known to go over 1,000 pounds. Once they are 200-p0unders there is no predator that will take them on and sows are fiercely protective of their piglets. As they throw litters of 10 to 12 and breed twice a year, two hogs can very quickly become 200 hogs if they are not aggressively hunted.

Roasted boar’s head with Polish wild boar carving set.

In various parts of the nation hogs are taken many ways. They are trapped, speared, knifed, shot with firearms of all sorts or hand caught. These are typically very close range encounters. I don’t have the stamina to dog hunt them any more, but mostly stalk them or shoot them from elevated stands. The end result is some good eating pork that I cook in a variety of ways. Although you do have to wear gloves to prevent potentially picking up some really nasty blood-born diseases, I enjoy working up and eating my wild hogs. This can be an exploration of the eatable arts as illustrated by the whole roasted boar’s head that I did a few years ago.

If you have your own pieces of  American hog hunting art or produce such items feel free to reply to this post and attach a thumbnail of  the art and contact info.

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Written by hoveysmith

February 20, 2012 at 10:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Good article, but one thing worth mentioning is the damage these critters can do to crops and food plots. Wild hogs will root around in the dirt, digging holes and uprooting whatever is growing in their path. At the extreme they can make it dangerous to drive a tractor in the field behind them.

    In our hunting club we have a rule: If you see a wild hog, kill it with whatever means is at hand. We finally have the upper hand.

    Craig Hollingsworth

    February 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm


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