Wayne County Hog Jam 2021

6,200+ pounds of pork removed from southeast Georgia in three days.

Daryl Gay | April 3, 2021

A trip down to Jesup each year for the Wayne County Hog Jam results in the local board of tourism hosting a large crowd of fine folks—plus a huge pile of peeved and formerly pugilistic pork! The 2021 Jam, for instance, held Feb. 19-21, resulted in more than 3 tons of wild hogs being hauled to skinning racks at the Jaycee Fairgrounds on the banks of the Altamaha River.

Any time you can take 6,245 pounds of destructive wild hogs off the landscape is a good weekend, and heavy rains moved out just in time for the sun to break through and allow 81 hunters—including 13 Wounded Warriors—to get into the woods competing for a big payday.

Above: Here’s the winners from the 2021 Wayne County Hog Jam: Front row (from left) Preston Lowe, Dylan Lester, Rex Johnson, Miki Thomaston and Rat Johnson. Back row (from left): Craig Nobles, Derrick Morris, Joe Langley, Ronnie Smiley and Wesley Johnson. Below: Preston Lowe killed the biggest hog and was the overall winner.

Over $5,000 was shared among bow and gun hunters over the three-day weekend, including checks for the heaviest hog weighed in each day, plus a three-hog aggregate determining the eventual overall winners on Sunday. Categories also included Youth, Female and WMA hunters.

Starting things off at Friday night’s weigh-in were Wesley Johnson (bow) with a 101-lb. pig and Justin Griffe (gun) with a 276-pounder. Each took home a $100 prize.

Saturday honors went to bowhunter Rex Johnson, with a 194-pounder, and Preston Lowe, whose 269-lb. hog won the gun category. In the Youth category for hunters younger than 16, Dylan Lester’s 135-lb. hog brought in another $100. The top WMA kill was taken from Griffin Ridge WMA by Christopher Mansfield, a 133-pounder worth $250. Miki Thomaston took top honors among female hunters with a 180-pounder worth another $250.

When the final weigh-in had been completed Sunday at noon, Preston Lowe was atop the leaderboard with an impressive three-hog total weight of 617 pounds. Besides ridding the Altamaha swamp of a large trio of mischief-makers, Lowe also took home another $1,000! Right behind him was Rat—“Nobody will know who you’re talking about if you call me Richard”— Johnson, with a 506-lb. total bringing home $500. Joe Langley’s 476 pounds of pork garnered $250.

Rex Johnson followed up his Saturday top-hog kill among the bowhunters, weighing in three hogs for a 507-lb. total to take the $1,000 top prize. Second ($500) was Craig Nobles, three hogs at 346, and third ($250) was Ronnie Smiley, three at 218.

Rex Johnson was the first-place bow winner at this year’s Hog Jam.

Among the Wounded Warriors, North Carolina’s Derrick Morris topped both categories, with the group’s heaviest hog at 129 pounds and the overall category at 246 pounds for a $750 payday.

Among the piles of pigs waiting to be butchered Sunday, one thing that stood out was the number of sows that had been taken out of the herds. Eliminating those breeders is a large step in trimming the numbers of what most Georgia hunters, familiar with wild hogs for decades, consider little more than a nuisance. Not so for Martin Richter.

Here’s Joe Langley hanging out with his son Leighton at the Wayne County Hog Jam weigh-in. Joe ended up placing third with 476 pounds of pork that awarded $250.

I met Martin as he was unloading his kill Sunday morning—and gained a whole new perspective on pigs.

The Wayne County Hog Jam is a large part of the Wayne County Board of Tourism’s efforts in drawing folks to Jesup and the surrounding Altamaha Basin. (You may also be familiar with the board’s similar catfish tournament held each year.) While it may be seen as a fairly localized event, such is not the case; hunters on the other side of the world are avidly watching.

Martin was born in Germany but grew up in the U.S. He now lives in Savannah working for Mercedes Benz. And he has fallen for hog hunting in a large way.

“I got addicted to hog hunting after experimenting with different attractants, setting up cameras and watching what the animals did,” he said. “I’ve gotten really big into firearms hunting, using different additives to draw animals in and putting things on Instagram. I have a lot of contacts back in Germany who follow it, and there’s even a group that sort of sponsors me, trying to get attractants into this country for sale; it has been a tough process.

“Europeans love hog hunting, especially when they see how it’s done here. They’re so regimented that when they come here they’re flabbergasted that you can pick up a license and hunt anywhere in the U.S. Europe is always looking very closely at what we’re doing over here as far as hunting. It’s something we should never take for granted.”

Agreed. There’s more to a wild hog than simply sausage…

Martin Richter is originally from Germany and said he’s addicted to hog hunting.

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  1. Eric on May 31, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    Although wild boars are a curse to farmers and deer hunters , they are a tasty source of high quality protein. I wish WMAs were open all year for hog hunting.

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