Larry Smith had never seen anything like it. The beast was standing in a turn row, silhouetted against a background of corn at first light. It had the distinct shape of a hog, but the proportions were off. For Smith, a seasoned hog hunter, the dimensions were simply too big — they couldn’t be right. The body form was in line with a hog, but from his vantage point, the massive size didn’t match up.
Smith, farm manager, Due West Farms, Glendora, Miss., was rattled. “Holy s---. What is that?” Smith was 80 yards away from the biggest feral hog he’d ever seen — dead or alive — in his life. With no rifle in his truck on a July morning, he grabbed a .45 pistol and stepped out of the vehicle, anxious to get a shot off before the hog could get away. He fired several times, but the hog turned, rumbled into the corn, and was gone.
(For a photo gallery of the massive Due West wild hog, see Photos: Huge feral pig killed in Mississippi corn field)
He felt that one of the rounds might have hit the hog, but he wasn’t sure, and didn’t see any blood on the ground. Before spotting the hog, Smith hadn’t even known Due West had a hog problem and hadn’t seen any recent crop damage. But after a short look around the corn, he found a section that wasn’t merely torn up — it was gone. Typically hogs root up the plant and eat the cob, but not this hog. “Instead of just pulling the ears off, he was eating the whole plant: cob, stalk, and everything. He was just raking down the field,” says Smith.
Shortly after his encounter, one of his farmhands saw the hog as well, and Smith knew he had to act quickly. Despite neighboring farms having hog problems, Smith and Due West hadn’t dealt with any hogs for approximately three years. “Hogs will tear your field to pieces — rooting, ripping out wallows and eating your crop. I knew he was going to decimate my corn. He had no reason to move on. Fresh well water coming in and corn on the cob — he wasn’t going anywhere.”