The feral hog is the subject of much media hype.
With numerous “reality” shows based on pursuing and eradicating them they are a go-to species for wildlife coverage.
I’ll never forget watching a program that said a Texas woman was “trapped in her home” for weeks due to hogs outside.
Really? Are they that dangerous?
The answer is no but the reality is some hogs do attack and in fact some kill humans.
Dr. Jack Mayer of the Savannah River National Laboratory been studying wild hogs since the 1970s and his research sheds light on “killer hogs”.
The study documented 412 wild hog attacks worldwide impacting 665 people. During this time there were four fatal hog attacks in the United States.
Of the 21 states reporting hog attacks Texas led the pack with 24 percent with Florida at 12 percent and South Carolin 10. Interestingly when examining worldwide shark fatalities hogs actually beat them out in deaths some years-including 2013.
In his study, hogs that attack are described as solitary (82 percent), large (87 percent) and male (81 percent) and most attacks occurred when there was no hunting involved.
This describes a lone, mature boar, likely territorial that is much more powerful and faster than one mightimagine.
There are numerous accounts of hunters (usually hunting hogs with dogs) getting hooked by a boar. These are situations where hogs are cornered and lash out in defense.
The profile created by Dr. Mayer shows an entirely different kind of hog. These hogs attack totally unprovoked.
In 1998 Robert Burns of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service wrote of two verified attacks in my home state of Texas, including a 1996 fatality.
“In one instance, a boar attacked a woman on a Fort Worth jogging trail. Two years ago, a Cherokee County deer hunter died from a feral hog attack.”
The Benton County Daily Record chronicled a wild boar that, “attacked and flipped a utility vehicle on a job site in Waco… and severely injured a Gentry man.”
The story details that, “Greg Lemke, who designs chicken houses for Latco Inc. of Lincoln, was a passenger in a utility vehicle when the wild boar struck the rear of the vehicle, causing it to flip with Lemke inside.”
“The accident left Lemke paralyzed from the breast bone down.”
The Pineville Town Talk tells the story of a Pineville, La. man who had a pig enter the house he was visiting.
“Boston Kyles, 20, of 497 Pelican Drive told deputies he was visiting his sister’s house at the time of the incident. He said he had gone there to clean fish and was sitting in the house’s front room when the pig entered through the front door. Kyles told deputies he stomped the floor to try to shoo the pig out of the room, but the pig charged him, Maj. Herman Walters said.”
“Walters had heard of pigs attacking people in the woods but said this was the first time he had heard of a pig going into a house and attacking someone.”
In my book “Hog Wild”I reference an Edgefield, South Carolina man who experienced one of the scariest hog attacks I could find occurring in the United States.
The Edgefield Advertiser reported, “A man was hospitalized recently after being attacked by a wild hog at his home on Gaston Road. The hog, which eyewitnesses estimated to weigh upwards of 700 pounds, materialized in Fab Burt’s backyard while he was working in his garden.”
“It came out of nowhere and attacked me. It had me pinned on the ground and was mauling me.”
Fortunately, Burt’s seven-month-old German shepherd, named Bobo, was on hand to help him fend off the hog.
As previously mentioned, hogs are not out to kill people. Well at least most of them aren’t.
Apparently there are a few out there however who don’t mind coming after humans which is why we should always give them plenty of space.
That keeps us out of the path of their tusks and maybe even off the day’s menu.
Chester Moore, Jr.