Operation Hog Slayer
Note: The names and places my have been changed to protect the innocent, and the guilty…..
Once upon a time (that’s how all tall tales begin), the Army and the Navy teamed up for a mission of destruction in the far away land of Saxet. The Navy was represented by Popeye, and his lovely maiden, Olive Oyl, while the Army was represented by Ol Sarge. Now Popeye happened to live in Saxet, but Ol Sarge had to travel a great distance (1,114,080 fathoms) over a two day period.
Once Ol Sarge arrived, a great feast was held, with an abundance of food and drink, at the residence of the Lord of the Land. Tall tales were told, much bragging ensued and fun was had by all. After said feast, Popey and Ol Sarge retired to the guest cottage to plan the operation.
It was a simple operation, but still required planning. We were in search of two quarries; the Magnificent White Tailed Deer and the Nasty, Ugly feral hog. Both would provide food aplenty for many months to come. Leave empty handed, and hunger would be in store for all.
The White tailed deer is a beautiful and graceful creature, with decent eyesight, hearing and smell, making it a worthy opponent. The male version, called a buck by the locals, stands around 15 hands high, weighing in the area of 80 kilos. This was our main objective. The bucks have horns growing out of their heads, called antlers. The larger the antlers, the more glorious the kill. News of a glorious kill would echo around the villages, with fame and riches bestowed upon the shooter.
The feral hog is a nasty beast, strong of odor and 3 oclock ugly. Feral hogs are large creatures, weighing up to 100+ kilos, but standing only 8-10 hands high. Their eyesight is poor, but they hear well, and have a great sense of smell, so good in fact, they could smell a virgin maiden at 200 paces. The lands are teemed with these beasts, as they reproduce at an alarming rate, siring up to 20 “piglets” per litter. While killing one, 5 more are being born. The word of the land is that there exists an extremely large hog, dubbed Hogzilla roaming the hills. To bag such a creature would be a special feat.
There were secondary targets in the mission. The racoon, the local masked bandit, is plentiful, and annoying. The beaver, big gnashing teeth, dams up streams, creating swampland. The duck, given to give heart attacks with their swift and noisy takeoff. The skunk, black with a white stripe, who when cornered, gives new meaning to the term “getting skunked”. All of these were on our radar, but not the primary mission.
The land of Saxet is governed by a motley crew that imposes many rules to make an operation such as ours difficult. The Lord of the land though said phooey, go forth and kill what ya can, the land and all its creatures our mine. With his good graces, we prepared to hunt.
The first couple of days were unproductive, but then Popeye showed he was the right man for the job, felling a fine Whitetail. The beast was old, but large. Its antlers had been lost in combat, so low on the glory scale, but he was large, so high on the meat scale. A couple days later, Popeye felled a second buck, this time a 7 point. Higher on the glory scale, but a bit lower on the meat scale. Popeye was beaming with Navy pride, taunting Ol Sarge on his shooting skill. You see, during this time, Ol Sarge had missed a couple feral hogs…..they are tricky bastards to bag. But Ol Sarge has been around, and knew the operation would be a long one. Ol Sarge is a virtuous soul, and has patience….and as they say, patience is a virtue.
A few days later, Ol Sarge got on the board, bagging most likely the ugliest buck of the land, a 1 antlered 4 point. It was a large beast, but no amount of Mead would make the beast look good. Popeye 2, Ol Sarge 1…….
Time wore on, hunting got more challenging and then late one afternoon, just prior to the sun setting, a herd of feral hogs got too close to Ol Sarge. With his trusty rifle, at 100 paces, Ol Sarge dropped a nasty looking sow. 2 oclock nasty if you know my meaning. The beast was so heavy, he had to tow it back, over land and through streams to the butchering station.
That put the mission at Navy 2, Army 2 and that is how the mission ended. Prior to Ol Sarge departing for home station, another feast was thrown, again with much food and drink, with new and exciting tales of victory, and some of missed chances. Popeye had a chance to put Navy in the lead towards the end of the hunt, but his aim was not true. As he tells it, the buck was a trophy, so glorious his name would have been spoken of for eternity. The maidens wud swoon as he walked by, the men would have been envious. Poor Popeye, no swooning maidens, no envy. But the stories he can tell.
So, Ol Sarge said his farewells, hopped in his trust Toyota steed and headed off into the sunset. The coolers were full, hunger was not in his future. It was a successful mission, with much fun and camaraderie. Lessons were learned, but the fire still burns to get the dreamed of glorious Buck, or Hogzilla.