PEACH FLAVORED WOODPECKERS
by: Eddie Trapp
Wednesday, July 25, six of us met near Kensing at 7:00 p.m. to hunt hogs. The temperature was still near a hundred but dropping by the minute. Folks ask how we manage to hunt this time of the year. One thing is where we hunt. Hogs naturally stay in the shade and near water during hot weather so those conditions allow the dogs to stay cooler than you would think. A four wheeler pulls a small trailer where a few dogs ride while others hunt. After a while we load the ones that have been hunting and turn the others loose. On the trailer is a large ice chest full of water. The lid is kept closed most of the time so the water won’t slosh out. In case we haven’t been near a pool for a while we open the lid so the dogs can drink and some of the water can be used to wet them down. The trailer is also handy for hunters that want to ride instead of walk. A small cage on the trailer provides a place for live caught hogs.
Those on the hunt were Denton and Kathleen Humphrey, Casey Williams, Clinton Harrington, Dakota Click, and me. The landowner told us where he had been seeing the most sign and we drove that way. Some of the group rode standing on the trailer and bloodweeds were still higher than their heads. Our starting place was about midway of the property and on the north side so we could take advantage of the south wind. First we went west about a mile and found no fresh sign. Back at the starting place we went east across many bomb crater type holes caused by rooting hogs. It was so rough and the holes so deep several times the riders had to get off so the four wheeler could pull the trailer out of the holes. After fighting the rough ground and high weeds for a few hundred yards we approached a pool just after sunset. Fifty yards from the pool I saw the dogs “turn on” and take off. One or more hogs had been at the pool and just ran away. The dogs bayed out in the woods and we ran toward them. Soon the barking stopped and we knew the hog had started running again. That’s called bustin’ or breakin’. The dogs barked again, much closer and we could tell at least one hog had come back to the pool where the dogs couldn’t reach its tender rear end. The dogs grabbed the ears of the hog, a boar over two hundred pounds. Since I’m sixty six now I sometimes let the younger guys have fun catching and throwing the hogs. Clinton saw the dogs were locked down and got out in the water to grab a back leg. I got my cell phone and started filming as Dakota, Denton, and Casey got in the water also. They were trying to pull the hog out on the bank but were having a tug of war with the dogs. I told Casey to start grabbing dogs and tying them out of the way.
With most of the dogs out of the way the crew was able to pull the boar to the edge in water only a few inches deep. I put my camera phone away and went down the bank to tie the boar. His cutters were three inches long and razor sharp. After getting him tied we used a calf pulling chain to make a loop and put in his mouth behind the big teeth so we could drag him better and also control his head, stopping him from slinging it around so wildly. At the trailer we raised the guillotine type door on the small cage and stuck the front half of the boar inside. With him on his side we cut the mule tape bindings off his ankles, pushed him on inside, and dropped the door. He filled up the whole cage and his back was touching the cage top. Too big to turn around in the cage. Got home about 10:30 after an exciting hunt. All the crew enjoyed seeing the five minute video I made. Maybe somebody can show me how to send it to You Tube.
The next morning Casey, Clinton, and I started for Paris to sell the boar. On Highway 24 across the road from the big pipeline pump station south of the old Delmar School, the hog was jumping around and somehow turned the cage over on its side. We pulled over to set it up and discovered the welds on the bottom of the cage, which was now on the side, had broken. All the boar had to do was turn his head, see the entire “side” of the cage was gone, and take off. I couldn’t hold it shut with my hands because of the big teeth. We were on the shoulder of the road with cars and trucks zipping by just inches away. Casey and Clinton searched the pickup for mule tape to tie the side back on. Any second the hog was going to see the opening and take off. Would he go west across the busy highway or east into a maize patch? Seconds seemed like hours as I screamed for the other two to come help set the cage right side up before the boar got out. Somehow the hog never turned his head to see the hole. Now the floor of the trailer served as a floor for the cage and we tied it so it couldn’t tip over again. The hog buyer’s certified digital scales showed the boar weighed 225 pounds. The buyer said he thought I might need to do a little patching on that small cage.
During the Depression all a farmer had to feed his hens was sawdust. One hen laid a knothole and the family got splinters in their tongues when trying to eat it. Some of the eggs hatched out woodpeckers and the wife had to boil the tough rascals for an hour. The best part was the flavor. The hens fed peach tree sawdust produced very tasty woodpeckers. The hens got so big and fat on the sawdust that it only took nine of them to make a dozen.