While Marshal Travis sat in a lawn chair Monday night waiting patiently for a giant wild hog he’d seen on his trail cam, the 29-year-old Kentwood resident was having some second thoughts on his game plan for the evening.
“I started thinking about it, and I said to myself, ‘This might not be the best thing to be doing,’” Travis recalled with a laugh. “I was a little nervous.”
He was hoping a massive boar he’d started seeing on his camera 10 days earlier would swing by a corn feeder on his 60-acre property near Kentwood one more time. Travis was about 200 yards away from his house, sitting in a plastic chair on the ground armed with his .300 Weatherby Magnum.
"My deer stand is acutally about 120 or 130 yards form the feeder, so I set a chair up on the side of the woods," Travis said. "I was on the ground about 30 yards from the feeder."
It was pitch dark, except for light from the moon and some small solar-powered landscaping lights he had positioned around the feeder to increase his chances at getting off a good shot.
“I was so soaked down with Scent-A-Way, I was just about dripping wet with it,” he said. “The mosquitos weren’t too bad, but I didn’t have to sit there very long.
“I got in there about 8:40, and he came about 9:15. I got lucky — he came a little early.”
As big as the beast was, Travis said the boar moved as quietly as a church mouse.
“I thought I would, but I never did hear him coming. I saw a coon under my feeder, and he stood up on his back legs, looked around and took off. And I said, ‘Well, I guess that hog’s coming in,’” he said. “Sure enough, in about five minutes, he came. But I never heard him.
“We’re pretty much surrounded by cutover and thicket, and I thought I would have at least heard him coming out of the woods, but I never did.”
Travis didn’t waste any time, and put the hog down with a single shot behind the shoulder.
“He pretty much dropped dead in his tracks,” he said. “He went to kicking and flopping and all that, and he might have rolled another 8 to 10 yards, but that was it.”
The big boy was down, but Travis was leery about a second hog he had consistently seen traveling with the huge boar on his trail cam.
“After I shot him, I stood up and got my flashlight and I was looking around as quick as possible, wondering where that other one was,” he said. “I wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to get on me.”
With the help of his neighbor, Kevin Lea, the men loaded up the hog that night, and then Travis started trying to find a scale suitable to weigh the monster on Tuesday.
“Nobody around here has a set of scales that went over 300 pounds. Everybody’s got deer scales that go up to 300, and that’s it,” he said. “So we took him to a guy’s dairy farm with a mixer truck that has a scale on it with 50-pound increments.
“It’s not really a good weighing system for something like this, but we threw him up on the truck and it went up to 350. So we figure it’s anywhere between 300 and 350, or 350 to 400 pounds.”
Travis, who measured the boar’s tusks at 2 ⅞ inches, said he suspects the hog meandered over to his property from adjacent land.
“My neighbor has been baiting them on his property beside us, and he lets guys come in that run hog dogs about once a month. I never really had any problems with them on my place until now,” he said. “We really don’t farm it — it’s mainly woods.
“So it’s not like they’re causing a lot of damage, but they’re coming in and tearing up feeders and tearing up food plots and stuff like that, running off the few deer I had coming early in the season. They pretty much quit when he started coming in.”
Travis saved the hog's shoulder meat and backstrap, and plans on mixing it in sausage he’ll make with some of the deer he hopes to shoot later this season.
He’s still waiting to hear back from his taxidermist about what type of mount he'll go with for the big hog.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to get a head mount or a skull mount,” he said. “One older guy who comes run hog dogs around here gave me a call yesterday evening, and he’s been trying to get on that hog with his dogs.
“He said, ‘Man, I’m going to tell you — if you’re ever going to mount a hog, that would be the one to do it.”