The smell of southern fried seafood hit my nostrils as the car doors opened.
As I walked over to open the door for my then girlfriend (now wife) Lisa, the pleasant aroma hit every hunger button I had. Visions of shrimp and sausage gumbo danced in my head.
Then as Lisa stepped out of the car I heard something move in the tall cane behind us.
As we fixed our eyes toward the racket a huge mud-covered animal emerged.
At first in the dim light at the back end of the parking lot I thought it was a young steer as cattle are common in any pasture, wood lot or in the case chunk of marsh next to the restaurant.
But it was no steer.
This was a hog, one that weighed well beyond 500 pounds.
It grunted heavily when it saw us (we were only 10 steps away) and then went on about its business of rooting up the ground.
The area the animal came from is a piece of marsh probably in the 300 acre range next to a large refinery facility. This is bordered by a large chip channel and a whole bunch of industrial buildings and homes.
Obviously that huge hog, perhaps a domestic set free to graze years ago as used to be common in southeastern Texas. It does not take hogs to go back to their wild origins and integrate into any purely feral hog populations.
This was not the only time I came across evidence of monster hogs in the area.
Early in my writing career a man told me had located a really big black boar in a wood lot behind the Vidor, TX Wal Mart and wanted to know if I wanted to tag along with he and his dogs to catch it.
Two weeks later a letter arrives in the mail with a photo of the hog they killed, all 400 pounds of it. I later drove by the area to inspect and saw the 20 acre wood lot the beast had lived in amongst a city of 10,000.
Both of the aforementioned hogs were boars and large, solitary ones that can find enough woods to hang out during the day and vacant field, cattle pastures (common in southern cities) right of ways along highlines and drainage canals can thrive
Throw in the aforementioned practice of allowing domestic hog breeds like Yorkshires and Durocs feed on open range with cattle and you have an even bigger chance of huge hogs showing up. Hogs show little regard for fencing and also need no help from man to survive beyond captivity.
As hogs push deeper into urban territory, certain individuals will find these sanctuary areas that will allow them to grow to epic proportions.
Animal control offices throughout the South (and as far north as New Jersey) are contending with hogs now on a daily basis but monsters like these are unlikely to participate in any trapping program they initiate.
Without the gun as an option in these urban sanctuaries, those hogs with the genetic code to grow huge will, dethroning the coyote as the apex of city-dwelling wildlife.
Young pigs will provide coyotes food but the ones I am writing might just decide to make coyote their food.
They are able and in some cases totally willing.
Chester Moore, Jr.