Collette Betters wrote...
>oh, one more question: How dangerous are these wild pigs? How many people >actually get gored? I never knew they were something to be feared. (Enjoyed >the Waikane write up, Patrick!)
In order to add some drama to the Waiahole Ditch Trail write-up I exaggerated a little regarding pua'a. They almost always retreat when confronted by humans unless cornered or one gets too close to the babies. One exception was a large boar which lived in the back of Moanalua Valley around 1990. No one dared walk along the dirt/stone road in his territory for several months because he charged whenever anyone came close enough. Calvin Zane or someone else had to go back there and shoot him. Dayle told me that pua'a have bad eye sight so they rely mainly on their sense of smell and hearing.
Another funny story is when HTMC member and hike coordinator Steve Poor and perhaps HTMC President Grant Oka discovered some dead pigs in Koloa Gulch. They had fallen down from the ridge because of a landslide. Steve poked some of them. All of the sudden some of the ones Steve poked woke up from their unconscious state and attacked Steve trying to bite him ! He ran and they chased him until he climbed up a tree ! The incident is part of the hike description for the upcoming HTMC Koloa Gulch Hike... "Hazards: slippery rocks; flash floods; the night of the living dead pigs."
Apparently, fear of humans is a learned behavior for na pua'a. When I went to Hakalau on the Big Island with the HTMC gang, we got to know a pig hunter named Ben Catriz quite well. He told us about pigs that charged him and his dogs in the forest. And these were boars that had escape routes and were without keiki around. Ben said that these types of pua'a grew up without confrontations with humans, hence the flight-behavior had never been learned.
Such applies to few if any pigs on Oahu.
I went pig hunting in the Kaupo area of Maui with my buddy Chris Thomas and some of his friends (actually, I just tagged along and watched them hunt). We trekked through the forest on the slopes of Haleakala, and I picked up on a bunch of things: how to look for signs (dung, wallows, scrapings on trees), how to stalk the quarry while tyring to stay quiet, how to pick up one's pace when it rains because the drops on the forest canopy masks noise and smell), and more.
The highlight of the trip was watching a hunter named David drop a 150-pound sow from about 30 yards, and then looking on as he used his hunting knife to skin and take the meat off the pig. The guy was a master with rifle and knife!
Pigs will only attach in self defense, usually. All this expert hunter garbage is really just that. In most places i've found that i can become friends with most pigs by just being calm. Its all in the attitude. Pigs know if you're out to eat them or just being friendly.