Recent pig related stories reminded me of the time I went pig hunting in Kokee with several Kalaheo friends from the McBryde Sugar Plantation fast pitch team. Early morning. Must have been in 1974 or 75.
The three of us drove to the Kokee State Park in my Landcruiser and took an immediate right and drove down an ever deteriorating mud road towards the back valleys of Waimea Canyon. (Or so I was told. Maps? What maps. Stuart's book? More like Captain Cook's charts!) I did remember the road from the days in the late fifties when my father and I hiked all the Kokee streams in search of the ever elusive 8 inch, planted Kokee trout....dad actually caught several.)
We drove for an hour and twenty minutes in mostly high four wheel drive, fully realizing it would be a two hour return trip in low four wheel drive, if it didn't rain!!! (I can remember seriously thinking about that winch option...I had declined when purchasing the Landcruiser months earlier.)
One of the guys spotted some pig diggings near where they wanted to hunt, so that is where we parked the jeep. (With no worry of thieft.)
The five dogs, which had been couped up in a small portable wire cage, were a tough lot. Kept at home in ever heavier wire cages, few dogs ever felt the human touch other than a swat with a stick or rifle butt. But they were to do their well job this day.
With myself lugging a borrowed carbine and long killing knife (if your a real man you stab the pig....sorry I like my egg pie), we all headed into the bush.
Forty-five minutes into the hunt (actually a strenuous HIKE up and dowm several valleys) the dogs picked up a pig and started barking like crazy.
Tommy and Henry took off chasing the dogs like bats out of hell. I remember Tommy telling me to hurry up or I'd get lost.
I tried to keep up....but with the undulating terrain and lantana bush, it was impossible for me. Tripping. Falling. Gun and knife and everything else getting caught on every bush, I was swallowed up by the vegetation. But I could hear the dogs as the chase continued and felt confident.
About forty minutes later a shot rang out. Then complete silence. I could not discern the direction of the shot although I knew it was valleys away. By this time I was tired, confused and lost, but I did not want to end up missing. There were always a few deaths each year on Kauai from hunting accidents....like 2,800 foot falls!!
Finally a sound. A bark or actually a yelp. A few sounds and an hour later (three valleys) I found the boys caring for a cut dog. (Probably bitten by another dog.) "Hey Dougie Boy, where you bin? Your first hunt... you gotta carry the pig out."
The gutted pig weighed about eighty pounds or so and I weighed about 130 at the time.
It was a real struggle for me to get the pig back to the jeep. But the real killer was the ukus. The ticks and other creatures that inhabit wild pigs know a warm body from a cold one and transfer themselves quit quickly to the warm one.
Although the story continues (with several other pig chases), I am going to end it with a few words of advice to hikers on pig hunters. Treat them, their dogs and guns with reverence, for if angered, they may persuade you to carry there dead pig out for them....at which point you will wish the hunter had shot you or the dogs had torn you apart.