By Mike Barnett
It’s a typical day for a sounder of feral hogs in Central Texas. Two sows and their piglets root a coastal field, searching for food. An old boar wallows in what’s left of a dried-up tank. Others nap in the brush with thoughts of a PETA feral hog refuge or a Whataburger and fries dancing in their heads.
Suddenly the pitched whine and grinding gears of a fast-approaching jeep pricks the hogs’ ears. Horses crash through the brush from the opposite direction. Dogs howl, dust billows and fur flies as canines and hogs tangle. A rifle cracks and hogs scatter—all but one, that is. Hog heaven calls.
Meet the Campbells, a feral hog’s worst nightmare. The family lives in Central Texas, they hunt and live capture hogs for a living and are stars of a new television show called American Hoggers. They will ply their trade at 9 p.m. Central in High Definition on the A&E Channel beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 19.
I don’t normally publicize television shows, especially when I’ve never seen them. But the trailer intrigues me. I love Swamp People, the show on the History Channel where Cajuns make a living hunting alligators for skin and meat.
Why not rednecks hunting hogs in Central Texas?
The crusty, colorful family patriarch is Jerry Campbell, 64, who says he’s been hunting hogs since “Moby Dick was a sardine.” Then there is sassy, feisty Krystal (aka Krystal Pistol), 23, a former beauty queen who packs a pistol and can stick in the saddle like a tick on a dog. Rounding out the trio is Robert Hunter Campbell, 28, who is the level-headed peacekeeper in this fast-moving world of adrenaline and danger.
Some will criticize American Hoggers as crass, an exploitation of wild animals for entertainment. And certainly there’s an entertainment aspect to this show with the colorful characters and dramatization that is sure to occur. What I hope American Hoggers conveys is the truth about feral hogs—that they are destructive and mean, overrunning the countryside, encroaching into cities and causing millions of dollars in losses annually to farmers and ranchers in the Lone Star State.
Texans who are affected—the numbers grow every year—pretty much agree control is needed.
So why not prime time? Maybe it will spark both realization and action on this plague of pigs that is firmly entrenched in the Lone Star State.
Note: Just to be on record, the show’s producers told me they live capture the hogs unless the hogs are particularly aggressive.