View Full Version : Hog Wild above Elkmont

05-04-2008, 01:18 AM
I fished Saturday afternoon/evening above Elkmont. I was going to fish just a little ways up the trail, but there were a lot of other folks out after the rain, so I wound up hiking up to Cucumber Gap before getting into the stream. Past the first bridge and before the trail intersection I had an encounter that I was not really prepared for. As I was hiking, about 50 yards in front of me a large black Boar galloped out of the brush, across the trail and up the embankment toward Cucumber Gap. I had thought that they were nocturnal and fairly rare, so I never expected to see one in broad daylight scampering across a trail.

On average they grow to about 125lbs, but can reach 300 pounds. The sound that this one made and the size of him made me think he was over 200 pounds. I was too dumbfounded to snap a picture, plus he was motoring pretty quickly. I'm not sure what he was doing there, and I didn't want to stick around and find out.

After hiking a bit more (I wanted to make sure I didn't run into his cousin...), I finally started fishing. I only managed to bring two rainbows to hand, but they were both fat and colorful, and over 8". One came on a Yellow EHC w/ CDC and the other came on the "skunk buster" SMBBSH. The three times that I went to Elkmont this week, I managed to avoid getting skunked each time with the SMBBSH (Thanks Hugh!!)

There is some nice water that probably doesn't see all that many anglers, if you are willing to hike to it up there. There were lots of folks on the trail and in the stream down lower, but once I made up about 2 miles, I didn't see anyone else fishing. I had a few rises to a Yellow EHC and Yellow PA, but not any other hookups. I hope others did better. The evening hatches didn't seem as prolific as Thursday evening, either.

But it was an eventful afternoon and a great day to be on the water (I guess that's a pointless statement...any day out on a stream is a great day...)

05-04-2008, 03:06 AM
Pretty fish...and now I have a hankering for cochon de lait...

05-04-2008, 08:22 AM
Pork in milk?

05-04-2008, 08:37 AM
Last fall on the Pigeon I saw a patch of ground that looked like it had been turned, almost plowed. Reminded me of the hog lot when I was a kid. Wonder if wild hogs did that? Just in case I hiked a little faster everytime I fished that spot!

They can smell bacon on you, you know, and it triggers an attack! :biggrin:

05-04-2008, 08:54 AM
just in the mountains. It's funny that you mentioned this. I live in Florida and have seen wild hogs on 2 different occasions in the past month here in Florida. The first sighting was a nice size boar that was in the median of I-75 rooting in broad daylight. He may have gone almost 200 lbs by his size. More recently yet I saw two pigs in the median of I-95 near Daytona as I was driving south.

I'm not sure, but wonder if this means there is a bumper "crop" of wild hogs of late...it certainly seems to be so.


05-04-2008, 09:34 AM
Pork in milk?

Close...it means, roughly, "suckling pig" - hence the "lait" reference...cajun dish.

Hogs are everywhere; my dad always told me, down here on the gulf coast, that the farmers would turn their hogs loose in the woods in the fall, to let them graze on acorns and what not. Every year, they would miss one or two, and they would turn wild. They contributed to some of the damage of Katrina - they were uprooting the grass on levees in some areas, weakening them.

05-04-2008, 07:50 PM
Last fall on the Pigeon I saw a patch of ground that looked like it had been turned, almost plowed. Reminded me of the hog lot when I was a kid. Wonder if wild hogs did that?

Barbara, that was probably the work of a boar. That's one of the many problems associated with the wild hog population in the park. The NPS has had a policy of total eradication for the hogs. I met a young Park Ranger from over on the TwentyMile side of the Park earlier this year, and he has been hired to hunt and kill as many hogs as he can find in the Park.

Here's some interesting info from the site "Wild Hogs of the Smoky Mtns (http://www.smokymtnmall.com/mall/whogs.html)":
The hog behavior of rooting while searching for food causes the most damage to the park. Many plant species, including ones that are rare or that take several years to flower, are eaten, trampled, or uprooted by the rototiller action of a foraging hog. Native animals are also victim to the wild hog through direct consumption, destruction of habitat, and competition. For example, red-cheeked salamanders, which are endemic to the park, are commonly found in hog stomachs.

Both wallowing and rooting contaminate streams, causing potential problems for the native brook trout. Hog occupied drainages have been found to have a higher concentration of coliform bacteria than unoccupied drainages. These bacteria contaminate water sources, which is a health consideration in heavily used recreational areas such as the park.

05-04-2008, 08:50 PM
Sounds like they need to hire a bunch of professional hunters and trappers, and put a bounty on them, like they've done with nutria down here.

05-04-2008, 09:18 PM
I walked up on one here in SwVa fishing on the Cedar Creek. I Popped over a little hill and there it was. My buddies thought I was smoking the good stuff. I took one of then down there in that same are to fish about a month later. I heard him squeal like a girl and there he was heading out in the creek and the hog on the bank. I just laughed, it didn't seem too mean. But didn't get too close.


05-04-2008, 10:28 PM
If your ever out hunting any time of the year in TN, they are legal to shoot. The Pigs can grow and reproduce so fast, that they become such a problem.
TWRA will let you take as many as you want anytime of the year. Maybe some boars hare would make some good flies... Hmm.

05-04-2008, 10:40 PM
That's good to hear. They let the nutria situation get out of hand down here; unless you were a professional trapper, or you owned land that was being damaged by them, you couldn't kill them, which was stupid; I would see several of them every time I went fishing down in the marsh. Now, it's just like the hogs up there - open season. The problem is the same, though - fast reproduction. At least the gators eat the nutria - I don't know if a full-grown hog has any predators besides us.

If a marketing campaign could be started, promoting "wild" or "free-range" pork, maybe a dent could be made in the numbers. I would buy some of those pork chops.

05-05-2008, 02:46 AM
I was down at Abrams Creek Campground a couple of weeks ago and there were two wild pigs drinking from the creek around the footbridge on the Rabbit Creek Trail. I called the Park service about them.

Brian Griffing
05-05-2008, 09:39 AM
If your ever out hunting any time of the year in TN, they are legal to shoot. The Pigs can grow and reproduce so fast, that they become such a problem.
TWRA will let you take as many as you want anytime of the year. Maybe some boars hare would make some good flies... Hmm.
Not to quibble, but that's only half true. They are open year round on private land. On public land, they are legal to take whenever it would be legal to take a deer.

I'm not sure why the state has placed those restictions on pig hunting. Seems to me, they want this invasive, destructive species removed, so why hamstring (no pun intended) hunters who can help mitigate the problem?

Rog 1
05-05-2008, 10:29 AM
In the many years I have fished in the park I have only seen one live hog...young one just below the cascades on Lynn Camp....have seen the signs everywhere....used to be when there was more money in the bank they would send rangers into the park at night to hunt the critters....on one occasion met up with one of these hunters coming off the cucumber gap trail with his rifle and spot light....no pigs but he did check us for our licenses....good for him.

05-05-2008, 12:33 PM
Me and my brother went up Hazel creek the first of April this year. When we were hiking in we say a boar. This was the first time I had ever seen one in the Park. We have been hiking into hazel for the last ten years and had never seen one before.

We also noticed all kinds of traps all along the trail. At first we thought they were bear traps but was latter told that they were used for the boar.

Rog 1
05-05-2008, 01:56 PM
For years there used to be a hog trap just off the LR trail where it meets the Huskey Gap trail....don't think it is there any more and cannot remember ever seeing signs that anything was dumb enough to get caught there....

05-05-2008, 05:45 PM
If your ever out hunting any time of the year in TN, they are legal to shoot. The Pigs can grow and reproduce so fast, that they become such a problem.
TWRA will let you take as many as you want anytime of the year. Maybe some boars hare would make some good flies... Hmm.

Check the regulations before hunting them. There is a season on most public lands. Don't know about flies, but they make great smallmouth jigs.


05-05-2008, 05:46 PM
Oops, guess Brian already covered the hunting seasons part.

05-05-2008, 10:17 PM
Griff, I stand corrected. Thanks for the clarification!

05-05-2008, 10:59 PM
I have been seeing all kinds of sign on this side of the park...it is kinda sad... If anyone is taking a trip to Forney Creek anytime soon check out from the lake to the braids........the entire area has been rooted....I would happily volunteer to lay the 300 weatherby on a shoulder

05-06-2008, 08:13 AM
The hog trap is still there at Little River trail and Husky Gap. It's up the Little River trail a little ways from Husky Gap trail.

05-06-2008, 12:00 PM
Cant hunt em in the park though, which is where most of them are. They have hired assasins that do that

05-17-2008, 03:46 PM
There's also a trap on Bradley F. Trail about 1/4 mile in from the campground at Smokemont. Never see anything in it though. I've seen the signs of hogs for years along streams and valley bottoms where the dirt is soft and there's good habitat for grubs, beetles, worms, etc. In the past few years, the signs of their presence seems to be growing, imho.

05-17-2008, 08:28 PM
I have seen them in every watershed I have fished in the park, and on the AT as well. The Derick Knob and Spence Field area has quite a few.

05-18-2008, 01:43 PM
As you can see I hunt and fish. I have hunted hogs by every legal means in the state of TN and it's always an adrinaline rush when you see one. I have walked up many hogs and only once been charged. I was unarmed and it was 1 day before season and walked up on a sow and her weeks old brood and a very large boar (which is uncommon) when they caught my wind the boar left the country but the sow made a charge but pulled up short (less than 20 feet). It rattled me alittle to say the least. Some say hogs have poor eye sight but they have picked me out in a treestand in full camo. Their nose on the other hand is their best attribute. As hunters we're always watching the way of the wind and in the predawn hours with the wind in our face it's not uncommon to have the begezzers scared out of you when a hog bursts from the brush at 20 yards.
Hogs are making a come back in areas that are hunted threw out the year. I have hundreds of pictures of hogs caught on my game camera in two months of scouting and in less than 1 week they were gone to parts unknown after they had either destoryed or exhausted all the available food in that area.
Alot of people are against hunting animals and even more so with dogs but I will tell you (studies show this as well) the best way to decline a hog population is with the aid of dogs. The state of TN however only allows this method of hunting in a few short weeks each year.These animals can and most of the time do outrun the best dogs but if or when the dogs catch up to them let me assure you they aren't the neighborhood cat scared out of his wits. They stand and fight, bite, slash, and cut anything that's not quick enough to move out of their way.
Okay done with the prohunting speach. The park uses these "hired assanins" because #1 it's illegal to hunt inside the park (unless your an employee) and #2 their kill ratio is so high. Could you imagine the outcry of animal cruelty the park would have if 1 hog was spotted in the daylight hours in Cades Cove with a wound caused by a bad shot. I could. #3 They can work at night inside the park with the aid of night vision.

Oh and hog hair does make for an AWESOME smallmouth jig.

05-19-2008, 01:52 AM
I would just as well see every hog shot, poisoned, trapped, snared, chased, dogged, and whatever else as to see some of their aftermath. Check out Balsam Mountain Road to see how quickly they can ruin a beautiful stretch of road.

05-19-2008, 09:50 AM
We have them in our backyard. These were taken with the trail cam I put up on our property. It was maybe 300 yards from the house. We have tried to hunt them but haven't got them in a good position for a clean shot yet. We haven't seen them in the daytime yet, only at night. We'll have to shoot with a shotgun and slug because it's too close around here to other neighbors so it's been tricky getting them.


05-19-2008, 10:43 AM
I would like to see them barbecued on a plate

05-20-2008, 01:07 AM
those suckers are a lot of fun to hunt. I lived in Hawaii, and they are really a pest out there on multiple levels. They uproot a lot of native plants, cause erosion, which, to a certain degree, runs off and is a contributor to the degradation of coral reefs. I've hunted them on the big island, on the slopes of mauna kea, where it's very expansive and you can see for miles. They can be so far away that they look like a little black dot in the distance, but if you get up-wind from them, they can smell you and will take off. It's pretty wild.

The best way to hunt them in a place like the park is definitely with dogs and I'd be more than happy to help. Get some good sausage out of it for sure