33 Hogs Shot In One Hour

Brad Gill | February 1, 2010

Widespread agricultural damage in Sumter County forced a small group of hunters to work toward a solution. Last year, they killed an estimated 875 wild hogs.

Thirty-three dead hogs in less than an hour of effort on the evening of Dec. 8, 2009 resulted in 3,789 pounds of bacon, sausage and ribs. Talk about filling the freezer fast!

A group of Sumter County hunters — William Webb, Mark Israel, Aaron Cosby, Alan Johnson and Ricky Crook — were fed up with hogs destroying agricultural fields around Americus. Known locally as the “PHAT Hogs,” they applied for a special DNR permit, which allows them to kill hogs under vehicle power, at night and with lights during deer season. This is different from the feral-hog permit which allows hunters to bait and shoot hogs outside of deer and turkey seasons.

Using a modified 6-wheel Polaris, equipped with airplane landing lights, the PHAT Hogs ride up on groups of 20 to 40 hogs in very large agricultural fields. Most times, three shooters use rifles and one shoots a 12-gauge.

“We just unloaded on them,” said Ricky Crook. “Then, when they start out of the field, they’ll get in a line to leave, and we drive right up the line.”

WRD Region Supervisor Julie Robbins said this special hog permit is only given after someone with WRD verifies crop damage firsthand.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for what those guys do, but what they’re doing should only be done by an experienced crew that is very familiar with the property,” said Julie.

In 2009, these hunters killed an estimated 875 hogs. On about 75 hunts, they averaged 11.6 hogs each trip.

“It is a thrill,” said Mark Israel, a quiet farmer who’s dealt with hog problems for two years. “We wore them out. I know we are making a difference. There’s no doubt in my mind we’ve literally managed to reduce the hog population.”

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