November 19, 2007


It's a war on boars, but pork's winning: Wild, wily pigs are wreaking havoc throughout Texas. Joe Paddock and other lonely soldiers test their mettle against the often surly creatures. (Miguel Bustillo, 11/19/07, Los Angeles Times)

It was a cool Saturday night in East Texas, and many men were surely someplace warm, swilling beer and watching football. That was not Joe Paddock's idea of good times.

Covered in camouflage and carrying an AR-10 assault rifle, night-vision goggles and enough ammo to outfit a small battalion, Paddock was wading through weedy bottomlands, eager to "get up on some hogs," as he excitedly put it.

Two packs of wild boars on a retired fire marshal's ranch had eluded his scope for weeks. This time, he promised, the clever pigs would pay.

"It's become like a vendetta to me," Paddock whispered. "These hogs have got my number. It's like they're tracking me."

Paddock, who looks like long-haired rocker Ted Nugent, is a pig-killing hit man who calls himself "The Dehoganator" and advertises his services.

If a band of feral swine is laying waste to your land -- an increasingly pervasive problem in the Lone Star State -- The Dehoganator and his fellow riflemen will happily shoot 'em up to hog heaven, as long as you help cover the cost of the bullets.

California and other states struggle to rein in feral swine, but nowhere are the pigs more populous than in Texas. It's home to about 2 million wild hogs -- and they're multiplying.

It's somehow scarier to stumble upon a javelina skull with those savage tusks than upon a live rattlesnake.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 19, 2007 12:20 AM
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