Bruce Florence and his son Jonathan Florence are experienced outdoorsmen. Between the two of them, the Caswell County natives have hunted or fished just about anything in North Carolina, but when a recent hunting trip brought them within sight of a massive wild boar in Pisgah National Forest, they were speechless.
“He looked more like a bear coming out than he did a hog,” Bruce Florence told WLOS. “He was seven-foot four-inches long. Five-foot wide on the hide side. The cutter teeth on the bottom were four inches long.”
It was a mountain of a hog, and it ran straight at the hunters with the intent of mowing them down. As the hog charged, Florence said he downed the pig with just one shot in the heart behind the fatty gristle plate that protected the animal’s vitals.
“You know we just got lucky,” Florence said. “You gotta picture sitting right there in front of you, do you believe it?”
The hunters said the pig weighed in at a staggering 707 pounds, which could make the animal one of the heaviest ever harvested in the state. Due to their stats as an invasive species, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission does not keep records on feral hogs. Last year, a hunter in Bertie County took down a hog upwards of 500 pounds. The true weight of that animal was never reported since the certified scale the hunters used only went up to 500 pounds.
“He pegged the maximum weight capacity of the certified scales with his head and shoulders still on the skinning shed floor,” said Michael Mansell, President of the White Oak Ranch Hunting Club, where the pig was weighed. “It was a true beast!”
Wildlife officials often encourage hunting and trapping for wild hogs due to their destructive tendencies. North Carolina, like many other states, has a problem keeping its pig population under control. The largest wild pig populations are located in six mountain counties in the western part of the state, but roaming groups of feral pigs can be found across North Carolina.
“Known by a variety of names—wild boar, wild hog, wild pig, feral swine, razorback—the wild pig is prolific and adaptable,” the commission stated on its website. “And they are trouble. Wild pigs can spread hoof-and-mouth disease, pseudorabies virus and swine brucellosis, all of which can infect domesticated livestock. Wild pigs can also carry diseases that can infect humans, and they can cause substantial damage to agricultural crops and other property.”
For the Florence family, however, the 707-pound pig represents a heap of bacon and sausages. Bruce Florence said he sent in the head of the large boar to a taxidermist, and will be hanging in his cabin when its finished.
You can see an interview with Bruce below: