It was a mixture of “Old Florida”: dogs, hogs, guns and God. Thirty 4 -man teams were competing to see who could capture the biggest wild hogs over 3 days last weekend. 

The 4th Annual Chris Phillips Memorial Hog Hunt is a 3 day affair that ended with an afternoon weigh-in last Sunday at the Mosaic Arena in Arcadia, Florida. 

Wild hogs originated in Eurasia and Africa eons ago. These hogs were introduced into the Americas in the 16th century as a source of food. Wild hogs are an invasive species and often out-compete other  animals for food. They often destroy agricultural crops and eat tree seeds and seedlings. 

Hunting wild hogs is a sport that is welcomed by land owners because it prevents the land destruction that occurs when wild hogs overpopulate an area. This is not a sport for the faint of heart. 

The hunters drive and stalk through rural lands at night in search of hogs. When hogs are spotted, dogs are set loose to bay up the hogs. As the dogs trap the hog, which weigh anywhere between 150 and 450 pounds, the hunters run in and grab the rear legs of the hog and flip it over and tie the hooves securely. This is a perilous task and hunters are often cut by the extremely sharp tusks of the hogs. 

This is a sport where tough men and, yes, tough women prove their mettle. 

Arriving at the arena for the weigh-in, I realized I was not at a cocktail party. The parking lot was packed with pickup trucks and there was not a single Biden/Harris bumper sticker to be seen.

Once inside you realize that this event is about guns, dogs, hogs and God. When the National Anthem was sung, there was no one talking and all the males from 3-80 years old removed their caps and stood at attention. It was a family event with many children running around and hundreds of baby strollers could be seen. 

Barbeque was the obvious food choice. No tofu burgers could be found. 

Rap music by Waka Flocka Flame and Lil Wayne blared out interspersed with country music. The music muted the hog squeals that permeated the building. The vendors were selling food and tee shirts that celebrated “Pro Guns, Pro Life, Pro God and Pro Trump.”

Over the course of 3 hours,  30 hunt teams pulled their trucks and trailers into the arena to unload their biggest hogs from the weekend hunt. 

The event reminded me that there is a world that exists nearby that is not all about condos, beaches and crime. It is a part of America that is often ignored.

These Americans honor hard work and fair play. They are real men and women that have little fear. They don’t understand the America that refuses to arrest criminals and allows Jewish people to be harassed in the streets by supporters of Hamas. They don’t give boys drugs to turn them into girls and they don’t let men go in the girl’s bathrooms. They don’t drive Teslas but they do provide much of the food that our country needs. 

If Trump is elected, it will be these people that make up the base of his support. We need more hog hunters in this country and less spoiled college students crying out for “safe spaces.”

Bob Spencer
Manatee Herald

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