Anglers are known for their tales of the elusive big fish that managed to get away. However, when it comes to storytelling, pig hunters have a knack for sharing captivating tales – and they’re usually true. Start chewing the fat with them and you’ll uncover some curly tales.
One such tale involves the late Peter Way when he found himself hunting near a shingle road on a fine day in 1988. It was not far from the village of Havelock at the head of Pelorus Sound in the Marlborough Sounds region. He and his dogs were navigating through thick gorse and scrub-covered hills when the dogs put up a good boar. It shook the dogs off and made a descent downhill towards the road.
Peter hurried downhill and reached the road where he noticed skid marks where the pig had turned and headed north along the road. He quickly ran to his truck and motored off in pursuit. Three kilometres down the road, he rounded a corner and came face-to-face with a visibly shaken local resident named Bill Page, who was sitting in his Morris 1100 – his face pale and in a state of shock.
“I got charged by a big boar and out put a big dent in the side of my car door,” Bill spluttered.
It turned out that Bill had heard the noise of the pig and dogs, jumped in his car, and set off to investigate. He found the 164lb (74kg) boar in the middle of the road, swinging its tusks and snarling at the dogs. Bill tried to drive past the melee, but the enraged pig took exception to the new arrival on the scene.
Two hefty powerful charges left a big dent in the car door as well as crashed a hub cap off the wheel. A shaken Bill finally got past the monster and met Peter, who then caught up with the dogs and the boar and killed the animal.
In another instance, during a conversation with the late George Wratt of Marlborough’s Waikakaho Valley, he shared an intriguing pig-hunting anecdote. He recounted a particular hunt when his dogs chased a big boar off the hill and down the valley road. Coincidentally, at that very moment, a local named Reg Holdaway was driving up the valley in his brand-new Vauxhall Viva when he came face-to-face with the boar charging down the road.
“The big boar thought Reg should get out of the way,” laughed George.
The boar took a swing at the car and knocked the ‘V’ off the lettering of Vauxhall on the front of the car.
In another conversation, George told me about a hunt where a big boar got the upper hand and the dogs pulled back, leaving the pair of hunters threatened. Feeling vulnerable, one clambered up a small
tree. It seemed like a good idea to his mate, so he clambered up too.
“The tree was looking shaky, and the top chap was kicking at his mate telling him to get out of the tree,” chuckled George.
Eventually, the pig wandered off.
George had more such anecdotes – this time involving a keen pig hunter driving down a back country road when he saw a boar on the side of the road. Thinking there was a chance for a bit of easy wild pork – if he could stick it with a knife – the hunter leapt out and rushed at the pig. However, the pig had other ideas as he saw the advancing hunter. Attack is often the best means of defence and obviously, the pig thought the same as it charged towards the hunter.
The hunter turned back and scampered back to his truck. But the door was shut so he ran around the other side, hotly pursued by the aggressive young boar. Each time the hunter passed a door, he tried to open it, but the pig was too close on his heels. The pair did 12 circuits of the truck before the pig got bored and wandered off leaving a scared, breathless but relieved would-be hunter.
Kim Swan, author of a number of pig hunting books, recalls a pig hunt in the upper Buller Valley above the state highway during the New Year period. Her dogs chased a pig down onto the road where it bailed. Kim stuck the pig and dragged it down the road edge. It was a hot sweltering day, so she sat down for a spell. The dogs flopped in a wet patch by a creek 50 metres or so away.
Suddenly, the pig came to life, saw Kim and charged towards her. Kim ran down the highway with the 100lb boar in pursuit. For half a minute, Kim and the pig were alone in the centre of the highway.
Meanwhile, tourists in campervans and cars saw Kim’s predicament and slowed down to witness the pantomime.
“There I was dodging camper vans and cars and keeping out of the boar’s way, laughing like a loon,” Kim recalled.
The performance was soon over, as thankfully the dogs arrived and came to her aid.
By the way, keen pig hunters can look out for Kim Swan’s forthcoming new book Hogs, Dogs and Rifle.