Before working to get the boar cleaned, I decided I would try to draw the hog before I left. The following is my limited iteration of the beast’s head.
As I knew I would prefer getting help from a real person and not the internet (and because I’m training myself to do things the old way), I drove into the town nearby to see if I could enlist one of the hunters that might be here for the plentiful game. There’s a breakfast place called Morty’s that both the truckers and the hunters seem to congregate at, so I decided that I would see who might help me with my kill. Apparently, my current naiveté about guns and hunting is clear to the locals. One of the waitresses, an older woman with yellowing teeth named Agnus, explained that there are no official hunting seasons in June. (Of course, with the exceptions of year round animals, like coyotes, skunks, groundhogs, and the like.) The last hunting season, which was for bearded turkeys, concluded over a month ago. Agnus did point me in the direction of an old time woodsman named Pine Pete who had a cabin down the road, as he had lots of experience and might have the time.
Well, Agnus’ directions were a bit on the sparse side, so it took me the better part of an hour to find the man’s cabin. As with so many houses out here, the house was in good shape and sported a nearly new Ford truck, but there was a barn behind it that looked like it was a hundred years old. Pine Pete was in the back practicing archery, landing arrows in the side of a huge tree that had been painted with targeting circles. He was probably in his sixties, although it was kind of hard to tell. A life of chewing tobacco had yellowed his teeth and the scars that criss-crossed his face spoke of accidents that would have aged anyone. He stopped his pursuits to chat with me and, with minimal compensation, decided he’d be willing to come to my house and help me dress the hog. Before we left, he did caution me that, for an animal defense weapon, I would be wiser to get slugs for my 12 gauge shotgun, rather then trying to be precise with my Glock. Had the other pig tried to charge me while I was shooting his companion, I would have found it much harder to kill him with my handgun. I had no idea that you could get slugs, rather than buckshot, for a 12 gauge, but will make sure to pick some up the next time I’m buying ammo.
The next three hours were some of the bloodiest I’ve ever spent as we hung up the hog, skinned it, removed the organs, and then cut up the meat. I had thought I had good sharp knives, but Pete showed me that mine were certainly not up to the task of butchering this hog. Fortunately, he’d brought along a set of hand crafted blades he’d forged himself. As we worked, he explained that he’d be very willing to make me a set for a little over the cost of materials. As he’s a lifelong bachelor, he doesn’t have anyone to occupy his time, so it’s clear that he likes to have things to do to stay busy. (He has a daughter, but he doesn’t like to talk much about her. In that, I can understand.) I told him I’d be happy to have him do so.
Once we got it butchered out, we were able to get about 70 pounds of meat out of it, which we then wrapped in butcher paper and stored in the massive freezers I have. Pete was full of fascinating tales about why there are so many feral pigs these days and how they have soft fat, rather than hard fat, which basically means they yield leaner meat. He even went on to say that the lean meat on wild animals like boars and venison is so lean that it’s actually possible to starve if you get nothing but that meat. I’d never heard of such a thing and the reporter in me felt like I should have been taking notes, but I forced myself to just experience it as it happened. While we ended up disposing of the unused skeleton and hooves, I did keep the hide, which Pete explains he’ll teach me how to tan, and the tusks. I’m not sure how old this hog is, but it had fairly long tusks so it was probably older than normal.
I’ve included a drawing of one of the tusks. This one I did with some chalks to see if I could make a more realistic image.