Here's a big surprise. I'm late with another post. Actually I've been going back and forth in my mind about whether or not I wanted to actually talk about this last trip. It involves my first and only foray into hunting, and I'm guessing that going into detail about the time I stabbed an animal to death will be frowned upon by the average reader. My only rebuttal is that I did use the meat from said animal (a boar) and if anyone rail on me for hunting while having no problem with buying any old animal slaughtered and shipped to the supermarket from the store can kindly go to hell. And as for any vegetarians who might be reading...well, you may just want to skip this particular story.
The idea for this trip actually came from a guy my dad used to work with. As a side job he ran a kennel that raised and sold American bulldogs. If you're wondering what an American bulldog looks like, think about Chance from "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey." If you haven't seen that particular film, you obviously were not a child or a parent during the mid 90s, and you can just take a look at this fellow.
Aside from being the kind of guard dog that will make an intruder's testicles jump out of his mouth in horror, American bulldogs are also used as catch dogs in boar hunting. You see, boar hunting is nothing like more traditional deer or turkey hunting. Rather than sit in one place for 4 or 5 hours waiting for an animal to pass by, boar hunting involves using hound dogs to track a target, and then, once they have it cornered, an American bulldog is loosed on it to hold it in place while the hunter comes in and kills it with a knife.
Now, to be honest, I have conflicting emotions about the whole concept as I look back on it. I have to admit that it doesn't seem terribly sportsmanlike to have a pack of dogs do most of the work for you in tracking and cornering the boar. But at the same time, once it's time to actually kill the thing I think it takes some pretty big nerve to walk right up to a 250-pound animal with 4 inch tusks and stab it to death. Again, people who aren't really down with hunting would probably find the whole thing pretty awful, but I would hope that those folks stopped reading by this point.
Anyway, putting my current thoughts on the subject aside, I can't help but find it a bit funny that my dad, a man who had never hunted anything in his life, thought this would be a fitting debut for he and his 12-year-old son. So he made the arrangements and we made our way down to Blackstock, South Carolina, home of Dorsey's Trophy Hunters Lodge. The owner/operator, Jay Dorsey, is pretty much the epitome of good ole boy. He's the kind of guy that I picture Jack Daniels probably looked like.
The lodge was great. Jay owns a huge chunk of land, so we had what felt like an entire forest all to ourselves. Well, that's not entirely true. The lodge was also playing host to some old fart from Alabama and his equally old and farty wife. I can't remember his name, but I remember he liked it when Jay called him the Alabama Redneck. He claims to have, and I quote, killed "3 boars, 5...no 7 deer with spears, a lion, and an alligator." His knife was a machete that he had carved down into a knife. Of course, everyone pretty much hated this man.
Needless to say, as we approached the time to actually take part in this hunt, I was getting more and more nervous thinking about how I'm going out into the woods with my dad and two retards from Alabama to put the trust of my well-being into an animal I'd just watched eat his own crap earlier that day. And of course I'm hearing all of the horror stories about the guys who made a wrong move and wound up getting his leg gouged open by a boar tusk. So when they asked who wanted to go first I was more than happy to let Dad take the first crack at it.
Now when you go out on a boar hunt, half the fun/terror is in actually getting to the boar. We roamed the woods in the back of truck while Jay drove, waiting to hear from the guides with the hound dogs via walkie-talkie. Suddenly, we heard screams of "We got one!" coming through the radio, and before you could say "poor traction" we were barreling through muddy roads in a truck that hasn't had brake work done on it since Elvis died.
Miraculously, we got to the boar without losing anyone off the back, and we rushed out to let Dad do his thing. Once the hunter is ready, they call for the American bulldogs to be unleashed, and these dogs do not fuck around. They grabbed the boar by the ear and there didn't seem to be much chance in hell of the boar getting loose. At this point the whole thing was academic, as Dad managed to put the boar down within 10 or 15 seconds.
So now it was my turn, and to be honest most of the next sequence of events is a blur for me. The drive was pretty much the same, except Jay miscalculated the distance it would take to come to a complete stop when we tried to pull in behind the other truck and we got into a nice fender bender. But I get the feeling these trucks have seen more fender benders than a bumper car so it was no big deal. Just like Dad's turn, the bulldogs took the boar down, and I went in for the final kill, which to be honest took me a bit longer because as you may have guessed this was the first time I ever tried to kill anything with a knife so it took a little while to get the positioning.
The next thing I knew, I was standing in a dry river bed with a dead boar at my feet. Jay had his video camera trained on me and was shouting "What you say, boy?" Basically, he was looking for a good quote to include in his advertising, but I wasn't exactly in the state of mind to be eloquent. So I just tried to ignore him, but he wasn't having it. He repeated, much louder, "What you say!?" What came out of my mouth next is something that I think my dad will probably laugh about on his deathbed. I meant to convey speechlessness with a quick grunt and a shrug of the shoulders, but the sound I made can only be described as the type of noise someone would make as they peed and crapped themselves at the same time.
But as goofy as I may have looked and sounded, I was a grizzled mountain man compared to our pal the Alabama Redneck. This was a guy using a goddamn converted machete as a knife, and he couldn't have done any more damage than a flesh wound with the amount of force he put into stabbing this boar. He actually did more damage to one of the dogs that he nicked on the nose while putting on this shameful display. He then proceeded to put the machete in his mouth and holler and scream like he just tackled the boar and broke its neck with his bare hands. Meanwhile the thing was still half alive behind him with one of the guides trying to put it out of its misery. Great white hunter, indeed.
All in all, I have to admit I'm glad I went on this trip. If nothing else, we had boar meat to last us through a better part of the next year. I haven't been on a hunting trip since then, but that may be because I really don't think I have enough money to be a hunter. Between buying the guns, the gear, and the access to good hunting land I feel like I'd need to sell my car just to have enough funds to get started. So I think I'll probably stick to fishing, something I'm a lot better at anyway. Besides, I don't want to steal the thunder from the Alabama Redneck, who is probably killing a very intimidating squirrel with an M16 even as we speak.