My eyes were wide, wide, open. They had been since 3 a.m., when I elbowed Hubby awake so he could share the terror. Through the night, we snuggled into our sleeping bags and fell asleep to the hooting of owls, the howling of coyotes and the rustling of small creatures in the underbrush.
But this wake-up call was not the eerie echo of an owl, or the far away chorus of coyotes. Nope, this was right outside our tent, and it was grunting. I had seen the tracks next to the water, and thought, without engaging my brain, “Hmmm, odd little two-toed track. Fawn?”
Now, with a cold sweat washing over me, my brain slapped me and said, “Hey Stupid! Those were HOG TRACKS!” Wild hogs. Meanest thing in Arkansas.
Hubby whispered, “What is that?”
“Wild hogs,” I whispered back. “Be very still, and very, very quiet.”
We lay very still and listened to the hogs root through the gravel, and erupt into a screaming, squealing, snarling mass when they found the few grains of rice and crumbs of chocolate we had spilled at dinner the night before.
“Pigs can GROWL?” Hubby asked. I just elbowed him and held my breath.
Wild hogs have tusks which can rip and they bite. The Arkansas Wildlife folks offer two pieces of advice when meeting feral pigs:
1. Climb a tree.
2. Shoot ’em every chance you get.
Well, that was helpful. We had no firearms and the pigs were between us and the trees. They snorted around our boats, about 40 feet from the tent, and eventually made their way on down the river. If our food had been within reach, it would have been gone.
Before daylight we were up and packing. Forget the bears, it’s the boars you gotta worry about!
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