Hog heaven: Taxidermist confirms monster pig
DELTA It's real.
And it's big.
It's a really big pig.
Soon after the story began circulating on the Internet of 11-year-old Jamison Stone's harvest of a 1,051-pound feral hog in Delta, the doubters came out in droves.
But Jerry Cunningham, of Jerry's Taxidermy in Oxford, says he saw it right after it was taken. And he's the one currently in possession of the poker.
Cunningham was called on to handle the mounting of the animal. He said they told him it was a giant, and, after laying eyes on the animal, he says they weren't exaggerating.
Biggest thing I'd ever seen, he said. It's huge.
According to Mike Stone, Jamison's father, the hog weighed 1,051 pounds.
It was weighed at the Clay County Farmer's Exchange in Lineville. Workers at the co-op verified that the scales used, basic truck scales, were recently certified by the state. However, no workers from the co-op were present when the hog was weighed.
Stone, a Pickensville resident, said the hog was also measured two different ways. Suspended from rear hoof to snout, he was 10 feet, 7 inches. From snout to tail, it was just more than 9 feet.
The only measurements that can currently be verified because the hog is in post-processing mode are sizes of the hog from the shoulder up, the method that the Stones are using to preserve their trophy. Cunningham will have to use those measurements to create a form for the mount, as prefab mounts do not come that big.
The circumference of the hog's head (across the ears) is 54 inches.
Around its shoulders, it's 74 inches.
And the length of its snout from its eyes to the end of its nose is 11 inches.
I couldn't believe it, Jamison said after he first saw it. It was the size of a cow. It was huge.
Perhaps as astounding as the size of the hog was how the story got out or didn't. The old adage of news traveling fast in a small town wasn't quite the case.
Driving around the dusty backroads of the rural community of Delta, story of the monster pig wasn't widely known. Even in nearby Lineville, the picture that appeared on the front page of Tuesday's Anniston Star was the first many people had heard about it. But in cyberspace, the news has traveled a great deal faster. And let's just say people have gone hog wild.
In attempts to do something nice for his young son, Mike Stone created a Web site, www.monsterpig.com, to help show off his kill. He also created it to help cut down on the time of sending e-mail out to family and friends.
However, the simple concept of the Web site has grown into much, much more.
At the site is a simple recount of the animal, its size and what was used to harvest the hog. It also includes pictures, a way to contact Jamison and some of the e-mails he received good and bad.
According to Stone, the host for the Web site (www.godaddy.com) said the number of requests or hits totaled 1,246,464 as of Monday.
Calls have come all the way from California, where Jamison appeared on a radio talk show. According to Mike Stone and the Web site, Jamison has gotten words of congratulation from Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, country music star Kenny Chesney, Tom Knapp of Benelli firearms and Jerry Miculek of Smith & Wesson.
Just as it goes with skinning cats, there's more than one way to harvest a hog.
Some track them with dogs. Some wait them out in tree stands, and others braver ones stalk-hunt the creatures.
The Stones, manned with guides Keith O'Neal and Chris Williams, chose the latter when purchasing the hunt from Eddy Borden of Lost Creek Plantation.
It wasn't Stone's first time hog hunting at the preserve. Not long before his son's harvest, he had taken a feral swine himself. At the time, he said he was quite proud of it.
It was about 600 pounds, he said. I thought it was massive at the time.
After using the stalk-hunting method, the weapon of choice was a modified .50-caliber pistol that had been modified with a holographic scope and a ported barrel to cut down on some its recoil. It was also packing a 350-grain Horaday bullet.
They ventured out and found the hog, and that's when the ordeal started.
To kill the massive beast, 16 shots were fired all by Jamison. Approximately nine landed. They tracked and sometimes were forced to avoid the hog for more than three hours.
Just how big again?
The elder Stone says all he really knew was it was a big pig. Just how big it was with respect to records he didn't know.
It was a pretty uneventful thing until the day after, Mike Stone said. I hadn't seen a lot of pigs up close. I didn't know it was a monster pig. I just knew it was a big as a cow.
It wasn't until the day after the hunt when Stone received an e-mail from a friend informing him that, some time ago, Hogzilla had been found to be only 800 pounds (in a National Geographic documentary on the hog). Chris Griffin, who killed the Hogzilla, had said it was in excess of 1,000 pounds.
When all that happened, I looked over at my wife and said, 'This is a big deal,' he said. Hogzilla wasn't even as big as the one Jamison killed.
State records on feral swine are not kept by the Alabama Department of Conservation.
According to biologists, pigs such as Hogzilla and this one are not the norm. Average free-roaming feral swine grow to modest sizes compared to this beast.
You might get a boar that weighs 300 or so, said Dr. Jim Armstrong, Extension Wildlife Specialist and Associate Professor for Auburn University's School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. That's a big pig.