I killed my first wild hog 16 years ago. I was in central California, hunting on a friend’s cattle ranch in August. The country around this ranch is hotter and drier than hell, so the creek running through the main valley draws in pigs like a Texas corn feeder. My hunt was done almost before it started.
Since then, I’ve racked up a lot of experiences with wild hogs. I’ve hunted them in Florida, California, Texas, Hawaii, and New Zealand, using methods ranging from a simple fixed-blade knife to a bolt-action rifle saddled with a high-power flashlight.
Through those experiences, I’ve learned a lot of things about wild pigs and wild pig hunting. If I had to compress it into a sentence or two, I’d say that wild pigs are a lot tastier than you’d think, and that our relationship with the animals is far more nuanced than many of us would like to imagine.
Of all the hunts I’ve been on, these lessons were most clearly illustrated for me when I visited south Texas this summer to hang out with a commercial hog trapper named Ben Binnion. Over the past decade alone, he’s handled 4,794 wild pigs. I don’t care what you know about these animals, you don’t know everything that this guy does. In a perfect world we would have crammed all of his know-how into a single episode of MeatEater, but thirty minutes of TV can only hold so much wisdom. Still, I think it will be worth your time to check out the show — even if you’ve never even laid eyes on a wild hog. You’ll learn some things that will surprise you. You’ll learn some things that will disgust you. You’ll learn some things that will impress you. And you’ll learn some things that you wish you could unlearn. Enjoy it, preferably with a cold beer and a pulled pork sandwich.