Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Blue Pig

Mike, the old rancher, had a hell of a problem.  His property along the Brazos River was being overrun by feral hogs.  They devoured the grain he put out for his cattle, they fouled the few water holes, and they frequently tore up his fences.

It is amazing how much damage the hogs could do in only a single night.  The damn pigs even occasionally killed other livestock.

The problem was a relatively new one.  Prior to European colonization, the New World had no pigs, hogs or wild boars.  The current hog problem was simply the result of escaped pigs that had gone feral and rapidly bred.  At the time, in Texas alone, it was estimated that there were at least 2 million hogs: the pests were overrunning the state!

The problem had been growing steadily for years.  Mike could remember when he was a boy, he'd occasionally heard stories about the hogs, but other than a few people who went over to the 'Piney Woods' of East Texas for a 'wild boar hunt,' no one had actually seen them.  Mike had lived on the property his whole life, but had never seen a hog until he was a grown man.  On the other hand, Matt, his son, could not remember a time without the porker pests.

The state government of Texas had certainly tried to get a handle on the problem.  There was an open season on the hogs, no hunting license was required, and in a last, desperate measure, the state just recently had allowed companies to exterminate the hogs--for a hefty fee--with helicopters and machine guns.

"Fat lot of good that nonsense does," said Mike to himself.  "Unless you are going to do the same damn thing on every neighboring ranch for a hundred miles...  About as useless as setting up a 'No Peeing' section in a pool."

Still, something had to be done.  Mike met regularly with his ranching neighbors, and in desperation, the ranchers decided to do something--to take action on their own.  One of the ranchers had heard of an old Cajun who lived just over the border in Louisiana, who claimed to be able to eradicate the hog problem.
Cajuns and Texans were not exactly the best of friends.  The Texans generally believed that the  Cajuns had too much French in them to be trusted, and the consensus in most of Louisiana was that the line dividing a coon-ass from a horse's ass was the Sabine River that separated the two states.  Still, Mike convinced the ranchers, who agreed that almost any price was cheap compared to the expensive damage the hogs were causing them.

The ranchers were desperate, so they had Mike represent them in the business transaction.  He make the trip to Louisiana and met the old Cajun at his home on a bayou swamp.

"Yeah, I can get rid of those tuskers for you," the Cajun said.  "You'll never see another blasted porker.  But, before I start, you have to agree to two conditions.  First, it'll cost you a thousand dollars--in advance!"

"Okay," agreed Mike.  "What's the second condition?"

"I do it my way," said the Cajun.  "I don't want any interference.  Every question you ask me will cost you another thousand dollars."

"You got a deal,” Mike said.

Less than a week later, Mike and the other ranchers were waiting in the small town of Santo when the old Cajun pulled up in his dilapidated ancient pickup.  In the back of the truck was a green tarp covering a large square shape.  Careful not to upset the Cajun, the ranchers remained silent as he got out of this truck and walked over to the assembled ranchers.

The Cajun held out a hand and demanded, “Where’s my money?”  Silently, the ranchers watched as Mike counted the bills as he put them in the Cajun’s hand. 

Satisfied, the Cajun shoved the money into the pocket of his jeans and walked back to his truck and lifted the tarp, opening a door on a wire cage underneath.  Instantly, a huge, blue pig leaped from the cage and began running toward the edge of town.  The ranchers just stood in amazement as the giant porker began to run around the edge of the small town, grunting loudly as it ran.  While the astonished ranchers watched, the blue pig ran around the small town several times over the course of a few hours, and with every circuit, hogs came stampeding out of the woods and brush to run behind the blue pig!

After two hours, the blue pig had a crashing mob of feral hogs thundering behind it--hogs of all sizes and ages.  And as the ranchers watched, the blue pig suddenly turned and crashed into the Brazos River!  Within minutes, the hogs following the blue pig had all vanished beneath the waters of the river.

The Cajun called over to the ranchers, "You will never see another hog in Palo Pinto County."

Mike and the rest of the ranchers withdrew a few feet and talked quietly among themselves.  Then each rancher produced his wallet and began pressing cash into Mike's hand.  After counting the money, Mike walked over to the waiting Cajun.

"Thank you for taking care of our hog problem. but we do have a question we just have to ask," said Mike as he handed the large wad of bills to the Cajun.

"Do you have a blue Yankee?"


  1. Come to think of it, Mark, that joke would have been just as funny if not more so if you'd said, "Do you have a blue Democrat?"

    Especially in Palo Pinto County.

  2. I was driving in South Tyler, Texas a few years back and saw a herd of about 6 wild pigs standing alongside the road big as you please. Later I was doing some photo-recon around a new property Azleway Boys Ranch had just bought up at Big Sandy and stumbled on a small lake hidden in a woodsy area. I set up my tripod intending to take a picture when I heard an angry snorting just behind me. I turned to see 4 or 5 (I didn't stop to count) baby pigs between me and a very large and very unhappy mama pig. Being ADHD I've had to develop quick reflexes vis-a-vis reacting to sudden emergencies. I turned and swept up my camera gear and fled back down the trail looking like the proverbial traveling salesman escaping from farmer's daughter's father with a shotgun. As I and my collection of wildly swinging photographic accoutrements pelted down the trail, I kept an eye out for a likely tree with a low hanging limb I could use to go vertical should the situation demand it. Fortunately for me, my sudden evacuation apparently satisfied mama because when I wheezed to a stop two counties over, she wasn't behind me.

    Pigs are a big problem in Texas. Our conceal and carry laws, you will note, weren't passed in Texas till the wild hog problem reached critical mass. Sawed-off shot guns with 12-guage slugs are all the rage. We call 'em pig stoppers.

    My Tea Party buddy, Fred, says we should make Democrats out of 'em. Wild boars have been voting in Trinity County elections for the past 150 years anyway. At least we could shoot at 'em publicly.

    But Fred's always been pretty sanguine about Democrats anyway. Fred's black and remembers them from when he was growing up around here. They weren't very nice to him and he never has trusted them. It's not that he doesn't like them. He says everybody should own one. But then. like I said, Fred has some hard feelings leftover from the twentieth century when they were still running everything in East Texas.