Get The Truth, It Was Not The Family Pet
The news media used it for headlines for a week claiming it's size was a hoax. On the evening of May 31, I was contacted by Bran Strickland of the Anniston Star and he told me that he had good news and bad news. He said that the good news is your claims about the pig's massive size have been verified. The bad news is that he came from a hog breeder and that the pig had been sold from the breeder to the preserve for the purpose of hunting. Early on the morning of June 1, I went to the computer and read Bran's article which portrayed the pig as a family pet. The pig that Jamison killed did not act like a family pet. It was a very aggressive animal. I was upset at first to read this report but after going through a week of being told what we killed did not exist by the network media, I decided to get to the bottom of this myself. I got my whole family up at 6:00 a.m. and traveled to Heflin, AL to meet with the Blissitts to give Phil Blissitt, whom I have never met or talked to before, the opportunity to explain to Jamison why he had sold a pig that was described as being so gentle and sweet to a hunting preserve in order for someone to come and kill it.
I was able to arrange a meeting with Mr. Blissitt who was happy to oblige as he is a father of a young boy similar to Jamison's age. Mr. Blissitt explained to me that he was an avid hunter and fisherman and that he did not see anything wrong with the hunting of the animal and if he did, he would not have sold it to the preserve. I asked him to tell me a little bit about the animal and asked was Mr. Strickland of the Anniston Star accurate in his docile description of the pig. Mr. Blissitt said he had bought all the pigs for his wife. The hogs were her deal, he and his son just took care of them for her. He said all of their pigs had just recently been sold for slaughter and the big boar was too big to be a breeder because of his massive weight and stature and would certainly be unsuitable for slaughter, referring to him being an uncut boar hog. He said the pig had gotten out several times by simply walking through the fence. He also said that the pig was very scary to people who would come in the yard because of his jaw popping, which is usually seen as a sign of aggression in hogs. He said that on several occasions, he had seen this massive pig throw other pigs around, once even over the fence. Mr. Blissitt also told of building the pig a large shelter that was big enough to cover him and keep him out of the weather but he said the pig tore it to bits in less than 40 minutes. Mrs. Blissitt herself even said in Mr. Strickland's article that at times the pig would even become irate. Mr. Blissitt said he could see how anyone looking at the hog with his jaw popping and aggressive behavior in the 200 acre hog preserve, that is part of the 2,500 acre hunting plantation, would certainly believe this pig to be very scary. He congratulated Jamison on his hunt and said that somebody had to kill the pig.
Mr. Blissitt then said that they never would have brought this issue up if we were not trying to claim it to be a record wild hog. I explained that we had never declared it to be any kind of record and until recently, I was not very well educated on the terminology of hogs and their classifications. As the Alabama Game and Fish Commission investigated the story and the parties involved for wrong doing with the exception of Jamison and I, we sat patiently trying to understand what was going on. When the investigation was complete, I spoke with officials from the Alabama Game and Fish Commission who insured me that nothing illegal or unethical had occurred by any of the parties investigated. They did not tell me this pig had been purchased for stock on the plantation, which does have many species of pigs, including Russian black boar, that do raise there in a feral environment. He did state that the pig was of a domestic origin which was the ONLY legal way for owner's of pig hunting preserves to stock or restock besides pigs being born on the property. I did not really think a lot about what he said nor did I care at the time because I was still fighting the battle of proving the pig was real or at least to get the news media to quit saying it wasn't.
Now from the first time this story was told to the interviews Jamison and I have done on radio and television, we have never failed to say that the pig was hunted on a hunting ranch or farm. I know many of you real hunters and animal rights activist have chastised Jamison and I for this hunting trip from the very beginning trying to make it sound like it was something short of a true hunting experience and your opinion is well received and understood. However, I own no hunting land and have very little time so this opportunity to hunt what we thought and technically still is, according to the definition I have, a feral pig, was something I do not regret doing with my son. Had I known that in a short time, someone would call this pig their "pet", we would have simply hunted another hog. I would like to thank Mr. Blissitt for his honest and forthcoming description of the pig and his understanding and taking time to explain to my son that he did NOT shoot the family pet!
I have no hard feelings at anyone involved nor do I feel like I have been misled in any way now that I have a complete understanding of this event. I intend to take my girls hunting there soon. I do however wish that since Mr. Blissitt was straight forward about the truth that Mr. Strickland would have looked for the whole truth and not the sensationalized version that guaranteed his story to get picked up. It should be mentioned that the Anniston Star which Mr. Strickland writes for was invited to come cover the hunt on May 3 and declined.
Its a hoax, Its a
pet, its a movie promotion scheme what next? Hey news writers, if
you are standing a little taller after Jamison's story, look down it
is because your standing on his shoulders. That's Ok he is after all
a big kid for 11.
Contrary to What The News is Saying, We Did Not Claim to Have Any Kind Of Record.