Chris Morris has been hunting Pearl River Wildlife Management Area outside Slidell since he was 6 years old, and he killed his first hog there when he was 15.
But none of that experience prepared him for his hunt yesterday, when a hog charged Morris and left him with serious wounds on his legs.
“I never had anything remotely like this happen to me,” Morris told LouisianaSportsman.com as he awaited a second surgery. “I went into surgery yesterday about 5 p.m.; they cleaned out the wound and explored it to see what the damage it was.
“I’m waiting on surgery right now, and they’ll go in and repair the muscle tissue and close up the wound.”
The incident happened about 9:45 yesterday as he was slipping through the woods of the WMA.
“I was hunting hogs and squirrels,” said Morris, who goes by the alias “morrisvswild” on the LouisianaSportsman.com forum. “I had shot three squirrels that morning.”
As he was easing along a slough, the hunter reached an elbow in the slough that was littered with some debris.
“I stepped up on the bank, which was elevated,” Morris said. “There was a bunch of saplings along the bank.”
He sat down on a log and snacked on a granola before climbing to his feet to begin the 1,000-yard walk back to his truck.
“I heard a squirrel bark up the slough, and was thinking I’d kill another squirrel on the way back,” Morris said.
He eased about 20 yards through the saplings, and then he heard a noise behind him.
“As soon as I heard the noise, I turned and (the hog) was coming up on me,” Morris said. “He was about 6 feet away.”
Knowing his .22 magnum probably wouldn’t penetrate the thick skull of the roughly 140-pound hog, Morris decided to let it run past him and shoot it from a better angle.
“I sidestepped him, but when he passed me he had that low center of gravity and he started turning on me,” Morris said. “I started backpedaling and trying to get my gun up.
“All those saplings were getting in the way, hitting my elbows.”
And then he tripped and fell to his back.
When he looked up, the situation was serious.
“Once I tripped, the hog comes up right between my legs,” Morris said. “I’m kicking it and trying to keep it off of me.”
The hog was fighting hard, and slashed at the hunter’s legs.
“He slit my right calf and then bit my right leg,” Morris said “I reached up and grabbed his snout.
“When I grabbed his snout, he let go and I got my gun up and shot him in the head.”
That got the hog’s attention, and it broke off the attack and backed up a few feet.
“We just stared at each other, and when I tried to bolt another round, he turned and ran,” Morris said. “I tried to shoot, but (the rifle) misfired; I don’t know if I really chambered the round fully.”
The shaken hunter quickly examined his lower extremities, and saw a gash in his boot about 1 ½ inches long. He climbed to his feet and went to see if he had drawn any blood with the shot to the hog’s head.
“I started feeling this sloshing in my boot,” Morris said. “I thought to myself, ‘I might be cut,’ and pulled up my pant leg and saw this gash in my calf.”
The hog’s tusks had done a number on Morris. The most obvious danger was a yawning, 2-inch cut on his right calf.
“You could put a golf ball in it, easy,” Morris said.
Another cut on the same leg later appeared to be connected to the largest wound via the muscle tissue, as if the boar’s tusk had pushed through the calf muscle and out the skin. He also had cuts on both knees.
“I called my wife and told her to be ready for me,” Morris said.
He was soon at Slidell Memorial Hospital, where he underwent the first surgery to ensure the gapping wounds were cleaned out.
As he waited for the second surgery during which the gashes would be closed, Morris said he actually felt lucky.
“If he’d have hit me in the stomach, I would have been in bad shape,” Morris said.