The Hog Hunter
By Elizabeth L. Hyman
San Bruno, CA –-(Ammoland.com)- I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Ronnie Robison, a true American adventurer, who made me aware of an ongoing problem, which in no way, shape, or form is a new development- but I, being from the northern part of California (I know, I probably shouldn't publicize this information so freely) was clearly unaware of.
The issue has to do with an overpopulating breed of wildlife, not native to the U.S.
There are anywhere between 2-3 million in Texas alone! And on average, each female can reproduce 280 offspring in a lifetime…
No, I'm not referring to illegal immigrants (that I do know about, living in California). I am talking about feral hogs!
Luckily, there are people like Ronnie Robison in the world to help defeat the war on these ghastly and atrocious creatures. Don't get me wrong, I'm an animal lover, but these are not your domesticated pigs, like Babe and Wilbur. And even though Disney tried to give wild hogs a good name, with Hakuna Matata singin' Pumba, they won't fool anyone who has had first hand encounters with the real deal. I contacted Mr. Robison after my co-worker, Michelle, came across some pictures he had sent over months ago. She started reminiscing about her conversation with the “Hog Hunter” and how it topped her list of best customer conversations she ever had. I stopped and asked her what she was talking about, and she snapped out of her trance, surprised, realizing she had not shared her convo with me earlier.
Michelle went on to tell me how he called about a mishap with the H-3 Horus Scope (an older version of the Raptor 4-16x, which we don't make anymore). We had sent him a replacement with a newer version, but later realized his zero on the H-3 had been altered in the process. He was so thrilled his scope was still in tip-top shape; he called to tell Michelle he sent the replacement scope back, because it was a false alarm and his was working just fine.
To give Michelle an idea of the line of work he used our scope for, he told her about a mission he had with the local airport. The air strips at this particular airport are made of dirt, and hogs were going in and rooting for food right on the runway. These “hog holes” were so large, they actually caused a plane to flip over.
So Ronnie “The Hog Hunter” Robison was called to the rescue!
Robison and his wife rolled in with a trailer, which is designed to hunt coyotes and hogs. Robison designed a two-story trailer that will carry two four wheelers. From the trailer, they shoot hogs with their 300 mag rifles. He calls this “East Texas Homeland Defense.”
Michelle sent me pictures to confirm her explanation and exclaimed, “You have to call him, Liz! He has some great stories, but best of all is how animated and vivacious he is when he tells them. You're going to love him! He uses our scope to hunt his hogs,”
Michelle's enthusiasm was persuasive, so I decided to give this mysterious hog hunter a call.
I gave Ronnie Robison a call, introduced myself, and instantly, it was as if we were best friends and had spoken on the phone hundreds of times before. He said in his heavy Texan twang, “This is such strange timing, because my Palm I use your ATrag program from, died today! I'm not lying. I've had it for something like 10 years and the day it dies, you happen to call me! I am very sad to see that thing go, as I hunted many hogs with it. I think it finally bit the dust for good. But anyway… let me just tell you about some of the experiences I've had with your Horus System…”
Robison began by premising his origin of residency to give me an idea of the environment where he hunts hogs. He is from Orange, Texas, a small town on the border of Louisiana and 20 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. By his description, half of Orange is swampland, while the other half is marshland. He clarified the difference (since I didn't know) and that is while swamps have trees, marshes do not, and consist of only grass.
According to Robison, “Except for antelope, every law can be broken in Orange County.” He could hunt anything he wanted, but chooses to hunt hogs. This is for several reasons.
First, feral hogs have the ability to double their population every four months with proper nutrition and favorable conditions. They can reproduce at rates of two litters of 10-13 piglets every 12-15 months. Besides the volume of hogs, their size is also a factor. On average, a hog is 130 pounds, a sow 110, but they are now getting up to 450-500 pounds.
Second, they are a farmer's nightmare. They are not native to our country, but highly adaptable and extremely destructive to our environment. They are omnivores and will eat just about anything. Robison reported one measly hog of only 65-pounds doing $35,000 worth of damage in a single night (just imagine what a 500-pound hog could do).
Besides being destructive to landscaping, they are tremendously dangerous. There are reports of wild hogs killing humans. They tend to go after weak and injured humans, vulnerable children, as well as dogs and pets. They are highly attracted to birthing premises to feed off fetal tissue. They rarely leave remains, since they eat the entire subject, so their damage is often underestimated. Plus, they are notorious for transmitting parasites to domesticated animals and humans.
There have been recent discussions in media about the reason for the increase of growth and viciousness within the feral hog community, and one speculation is the cross-breeding between hogs, creating a genetically superior hog with a lot of hostility.
On top of it all, hogs are highly intelligent and hard to catch. They are nocturnal, so when deer hunters are going in for the day, Robison is making his way out to catch some hogs. He said to me, “They're kind of like vampires- when it's dark, then that's when the blood flows.”
The feral pig problem is ongoing and as Ronnie stated, “It takes coots like me to get drenched and catch the hogs. I'd rather hunt hogs than deer any day.”
To illustrate the misconception on these hogs and the perception people have in regard to them, he told me a story about a woman who was the former Miss Orange years ago, and needed his help handling a hog who went wild in her yard.
Miss Orange was an animal lover who fed the raccoons, opossums, and even the hog who showed up at her back door one day. She named it “Miss Piggy” and soon learned of Miss Piggy's wrath when she woke up to find her flower beds in shambles.
Miss Orange called Robison to help her control Miss Piggy, but she had one rule- he couldn't hurt the hog.
Robison told her it would be tough to get the hog under control graciously, but he assured her he would not harm the hog.
Robison and a buddy set-up traps, but the highway was 30 yards away and created a problem. Hog traps are $300-$400 a piece, and highly sought after in Hog country. Luckily, Miss Orange had several Lincoln Navigators to spare, so they parked the vehicles strategically to block the traps from highway rubberneckers.
The hog was eventually corralled, but it wasn't pretty, as Robison ended up with a sliced ear, and his buddy ended up with a gash in the stomach.
Miss Orange was horrified, as she had no idea how dangerous Miss Piggy really was. She forced $100 on Robison for his endeavors, and many apologies, but Robison refused the money. When he lost that battle, he took the $100 and donated it to the Salvation Army.
Now the part I've been holding back on, which makes Ronnie Robison even more intriguing, is besides the fact he decides to hunt such an unruly mammal, but that he does it all from his trailer or on a pair of crutches, because he has minimal use of his legs. He contracted a disease over 14 years ago, restricting use of his legs, as they have become weak and painful with any stress placed upon them. Robison didn't let this stop him, though. He innovated new ways to get around and said, “If I want something, don't get in my way. I'm going to get through. You have to cut my head off to get me to quit.”
The crutches he uses are not ordinary crutches, but All Terrain Crutches (ATC) Robison developed after his car died in the middle of a rice field and he had to crawl two and a half hours in the heat of August to civilization. The bottoms of the crutches have welded teeth so they can be used in rice fields, but also in marshland and swampland surrounding Robison's home.
Robison uses his Horus Scope for every hog hunt. He said, “The scope is an old 4-16x H-3. I would not be afraid to pull it off the rifle and beat a hog to death with it, then put it back on the gun.”
The farthest hog-kill Robison has made is 524 yards, and that was in the dark! His goal is to kill a hog at 1000 yards one day. He likes the thick lines of the reticle for hogs.
He said, “You need one hell of a crosshair to find black hogs in the dark. It's the only scope I ever use for hog hunting because of the abilities.”
We discussed some people's resistance to the Horus grid, and he said, It's so virtually simple! Have a street map. Can you go to 6th Street and turn right on Green Street? People look at the grid, not through the scope. You have to look at the target- then the grid disappears. Take it to the simplest way.”
As Robison stated, “When it's not my terms, I need Horus. I don't have time to set-up a different scope. Don't have the luxury of light to check charts. That's why I use Horus. If the target was under my control, I could use any high quality Schmidt & Bender, whatever, but don't have that luxury.
Robison's hog-killing record was 29 in one month, 62 in a year, in one 400 acre pasture. The hogs just kept coming through, and Robison just got a lease extension for another three years. He is planning on having some new hog stories soon.
I asked if he ate the hogs he killed. And his answer was, “Of course!” He has a waiting list of people who want hogs to chow down on. He also donates hogs to a “Feed the Hungry” program. Nothing goes to waste.
The pig problem is not nearly under control, but Ronnie “The Hog Hunter” Robison is making a killing in every way he can to help stop feral hogs from taking over Texas.
To show our appreciation for his hard work, dedication, testimonial, and excellent entertainment, he received an iPaq to make up for his Palm that died that day. Someone needs to keep those hogs under control, so they don't migrate over to California (we have enough problems).
Robison sent me an e-mail after our conversation and wrote, “You probably think I'm crazy, but I assure you I'm telling the truth!” He sent me references to confirm his stories, but I didn't check, because as I told him, I definitely can't argue with him about being crazy to engage in such an activity, but I know he is not lying.
Many thanks to the Hog Hunter!
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