About Hunting Wild Boar
Wild boar hunting was considered a favorite sport among the nobles in Europe for centuries. The wild boar was introduced to
the United States in 1893 from supply boats. Today, feral hogs in many parts of our country have become a problem of
epidemic proportion, according to reports made with the Department of Natural Resources. These aggressive animals
vigorously compete for the natural food sources that would otherwise be available to deer, turkeys and other small game. They
root up a lot of vegetation and consume everything they can access.
Dogs have been used to hunt boar since ancient times. Boar hunting dogs are loosely divided into two categories, bay
dogs and catch dogs. Bay dogs are very vocal and harass the hog, working to keep it cornered until the catch dogs arrive.
Catch dogs physically take hold of the boar. Once the catch dogs have physical control of the boar, they will hold it indefinitely
until the hunter arrives.
Bay dogs are typically Cur dogs such as the Leopard Cur, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Blackmouth Cur, Blue Lacy, Catahoula and
trailing scent hounds such as the Walker Hound, Foxhound, Plott Hound and the Berner Niederlaufhund.
Catch dogs are typically “Bully” breeds such as the American Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and
other molossers such as the Boxer, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso and smaller Mastiff crosses.
From my many years of hunting wild boar in the swamps of South Carolina, I, David Grant have developed my own type of hog
hunting dog, which I call a "Pee Dee game dog." My dogs are able to withstand the harsh conditions of hunting wild boar,
especially in the summer time, which is when we get the most calls that someone has a hog problem. Most people
don't venture out to hunt in 90-degree-plus weather. The Pee Dee game dog and the Marsh Tacky horse have become an
efficient combination for hunting wild hogs.
Saddle up and take a wild ride with us as we share our many hunting adventures - good and bad - on this page. Some will
make you laugh, some will make you cry, and some will leave you completely amazed.
Because "Life's a Journey, not a Destination."
First allow me to play one more character, Paul Harvey, and give you “the rest of the story.” It is July. Record heat. No rain. Not exactly
good pig hunting conditions, but Team Marsh Tacky had been catching some good ones … that is until I received e-mails from one
Floyd Suthards from Conyers, Ga. Owner of Trade Smart Inc., Floyd was looking for someone to guide him and his wife on a mounted
hog hunt because they were preparing a new reality show for the fall. Folks, for those of you out there who don’t know the ol’ Pee Dee
Cowboy, here’s what was going on in my sometimes challenged mind! I was thinking yeah right. Who really wants something for
Floyd and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Suthards went from being total strangers to family friends from the first “eye-to-eye” meeting. (Lizzie is
easy on the eyes and Floyd, well, he and the PDC have a lot in common: pretty wives!)
Hold on, folks. There is a pig hunt in this story, but I feel you need this information so you can process and really appreciate the big ol’
porker in the attached sneak-a-peek photo.
So plans were made for a hunt. Floyd, a stickler for details, stayed on the PDC about the production crew coming that would need to
be put in position to film Lizzie harvesting a pig. Being an opportunist, I asked if the my “Horse Tales” crew could film at the same time,
and Floyd was most generous in saying yes. I then called my partner, Richard Perdue, and co-host, Blaire Grant, and crowed to them
about the plan that I was hatching. Enthusiasm wasn’t the buzz word for the “Horse Tales” staff.
The long anticipated weekend finally arrived after much preparation and planning. I had spent numerous hours scouting for feral pigs
on several tracts of land and had them “pig-pointed,” or so I thought. Floyd had mentioned that he and Lizzie were cowboy shooters
and wanted to get a few photos and footage Friday afternoon before Saturday’s hunt. A few shots? No problem!
When that crowd pulled up and out popped a very well armed Dale and Roy Rogers, the Pee Dee Cowboy didn’t bat an eye. Just
started hammering them with that good Southern humor that comes so natural to a true Southern gentleman like myself.
CONFESSION: I was eyeing the hardware strapped to their sides and wondering if they planned to shoot off one of my prize Marsh
Tackies. How could I say no? Despite it being 98 degrees in the shade, we had Simpson and Spirit saddled up in no time.
However, cooler minds (mine not being one of them) prevailed. We did get some pretty good photos of the Suthards in their colorful
western garb, though.
Saint Lynda, the PDC’s wife of 32 years, threatened this ol’ cowboy about inserting this next tidbit of information, but I just had to. It is
a classic moment – one of many we have shared in our many years together – of a cowboy-city girl marriage.
I mentioned before that Lizzy and Floyd were dressed very colorfully, Lizzy especially with her large Mexican sombrero. They were
very impressive and for lack of better words, mesmerizing! Into our kitchen they walk. Saint Lynda eyed up my new “friends” and all
their flashy gear. Like a proper Southern woman, she gave them a welcoming hello, but folks, you don’t put 32 years into a marriage
without recognizing the different tones of your wife’s voice and their underlying meanings. This tone said I was going to have some
explaining to do later. However, the PDC immediately commandeered the situation. Imagine that!!!
Later that evening on the way home from Red Bone Alley where new friendships were approved and sealed, Saint Lynda leaned over
and whispered a sweet something into my ear. “I really enjoyed getting to know this crowd. You just might have some potential there,
cowboy,” she said. “But I have to confess when they walked in to our house, I thought what in the world has he got me into AGAIN!”
How many times must I say: NEVER DOUBT THE PEE DEE COWBOY!! IT JUST AIN’T SMART, PARTNER.
Saturday morning arrived way too early for all involved in this hunting/filming party. After doing two openings for two different television
shows and equipping the PDC with a GoPro camera and two microphones, you would have thought I was getting ready for a segment
on “60 Minutes”! An hour later and our hunting party finally pulled out, but we looked more like a Lewis and Clark expedition than a
group of determined hunters.
You know, folks, sometimes the harder you try the worst you do, and today was not the PDC’s finest hour. Thank goodness that my
old slick tongue was well oiled because all I did well that day was talk. Besides the extreme heat and dry conditions, each time we
would get on some pigs they would opt not to be on TV and head for the nearest exit, which led into some of the South’s finest cut-
downs. Not exactly where you can carry a crowd like ours.
Folks, we could not buy a piggy that day if we’d wanted to. Mutiny was being discussed among the ever loyal Team Marsh Tacky. The
look on my co-host’s face was not very encouraging either after suffering the heat, the briars and the bugs for eight hours with nothing
to show for it. So I made a call that I have done very few times in my illustrious pig-hunting career. I had to call it a day without a pig.
This cowboy is very results oriented, and today my self-esteem was at an all-time low.
Adding insult to injury, we tried the next day to secure a pig for the camera but to no avail. Two days in a row and no pig. Putting all I
own on Trade Smart was starting to enter my mind. Our guests were very complimentary of my oral skills, but I thought I heard
mumbling about where or how I had earned the moniker “Pee Dee Cowboy.”
Folks, I am running out of space so let me wrap up this first segment of the two-part series. We did bay up some pigs but never did
secure one for the camera. When we were leaving the plantation, I glanced back and at the edge of the cut-down I saw two big sows
flash a sign: “Hey cowboy! You come back now, you hear. Glad you came but we are getting kind of ‘boared.’”
Next installment: Redemption!
It had been over a year since our party had hunted this particular parcel of land in the Dunnan Bluff area of Marion County. This ol’
cowboy can never cross the new bridge on Highway 378 without snickering. Here we are driving across the old big muddy in our
trucks, and Marion and his men would swim it – rain or shine, high or low, summer or winter.
On to the hunt! When we crossed the river today, I could see the water level was just starting to drop, old big muddy had just
experienced a spring freshet, the first in a long time, which meant some wet riding or “swimming” during the upcoming hunt.
Our hunting party included Mark Hausman, horseman extraordinaire from North Carolina; his daughter, Coti “Boss Lady” Hausman;
and her green but game boyfriend, Zack, at whose expense we had many a laugh; and last but not least Ashley “Wrangler” Jones, the
man of the day! After tacking (pun intended) up our Marsh Tacky horses and collaring up our Pee Dee game dogs with Garmin GPS
collars, we had our traditional prayer of thanksgiving and we were off!
We immediately started encountering water from the recent freshet. We were working alongside an old black water ox bow lake with a
menacing four-year-old cutdown for its northern boundary. I mumbled a silent prayer for the game dogs not to swim to the other side
after a porker. So much for unanswered prayers. Take a sip of java. That story comes a little bit later!
After ducking and jumping a few South Carolina state plants (the Southern green briar), we arrived on a ridge between two sloughs.
The dogs got gamey and were gone. The GPS showed them 300 yards, then 500 yards and gone!!! Decisions were at hand. You don’t
go where the dogs went. You go where they are going, which isn’t easy in this area that has more black water sloughs per capita than
any other place this cowboy has hunted. Did I mention they are deep, wide and boggy? With a quick glance at the map section of the
Garmin GPS, we made a decision: out and around and around and around. We literally went north to go south.
After a breathtaking run on our Tackies, we arrived a little late for a pig sticking. Indy and T-bone was just finishing up a small porker
when we came sliding into the flooded plot. All we needed was an apple and some sauce and we could have had lunch.
After checking the GPS, Hoss, one of my better dogs, never made it on this run. From experience we knew he was not on his own
lunch break! So off we rode again in search of our elusive prey. When we finally found Hoss, he was like T-bone and Indy munching
on a small pig in a very menacing clump of our state plant. We just let him munch a bit before we regrouped. There had been a lot of
action, but no runs. Kind of like Clemson when they play them ol’ Gamecocks!!
Our party decided to hunt toward a feeder that was in the far west corner of our swamp paradise. Before we even made it over the
next ridge, the dogs were gone again in every direction. The hunting party was ready to ride, but the ol’ Pee Dee Cowboy told the party
to hold their horses. As the Swamp Fox would have said, “Don’t shoot until you can see the whites of their eyes.” Sure enough! A
whole lot of barking but no action. Those pigs must have been visiting from across the river because they proceeded to break camp
and made a beeline back to the big muddy. The game dogs were showing back up one at a time with smurking scowls on their faces
that said, “Hey, ol’ Pee Dee Cowboy, we ain’t Labradors. We’re hogs dogs!”
Dejected but determined, on we rode! We checked out the feeder, but there was nothing but old signs of hogs. We rode out of the
swamp bottom and toward the hill. According to the GPS, we had already ridden eight rough miles and only had two little piggies for
the effort. The Pee Dee Cowboy broke up the long ride with a little history about the old logging road we were on. It had to be same
road Marion himself used to elude British General Banastre Tarleton. My crowd wasn’t buying in on the history lesson. They wanted
pigs! I finally said the magic words Ashley Jones loves to hear: “Let’s hunt back to the truck.” Folks, the Pee Dee Cowboy has been
accused of taking the long, hard way around to get to the pigs just to see how game some guests are. (Those who have made those
hideous accusations have been removed from the guest list.)
Even the best hunters get a little turned around when the water is flowing backwards. Backwards? Yes, backwards, but that’s another
story for another day. Back to this one. We had just crossed a very boggy bottom that required us to almost swim our horses. It was a
tough crossing, but we all made it. Well, not quite all of us. Ol’ Zack didn’t – but his horse Spirit did! To capture the moment for Zack,
the Pee Dee Cowboy pulled out his trusty Kodak camera and snap, snap. Zack will go down forever immortalized doing the tackiest
backstroke you ever did see!
After some more very impressive marsh work by our Tacky horses, we swam, jammed and jumped back onto higher ground. Now it
was time to hunt, as Mr. Lloyd Richardson would say, where the hogs were. Did I mention I was moving way out in front of the tired,
wet, muddy hunting party and keeping a respectful distance from any “harsh” comments?
2:00 p.m. Not much to show for a lot of riding. Hog hunting is a lot like what the Allstate Insurance commercial says about life: It’s
comes at you fast! Just when we think the action is over, here we go!! Top off your java because here it comes.
“Hey Ashley, why don’t you crawl down that muddy looking pig path right there,” says the ol’ Pee Dee Cowboy. I sure felt like Marion
when some of his militia was getting ready to break camp for home. Did I mention in the beginning Ashley was the man of the hour?
Folks, he sure didn’t look that way when he grimly began the briar patch shuffle down on all fours like our quarry. It was but a brief
moment before we heard the dogs hit the pigs. A few more seconds passed and we knew the squeal was real!
Coti and Zack were off their horses and scrambling through some pretty rough flora and fauna. Zack was given the honor of
dispatching our first good pig of the day. Before we could get back to the horses, however, we had another!
At this point, we were a group of very tired, dogs, horses and riders. Before we could call it a day, I noticed all the dogs weren’t
attending our little pork fest. T-bone had trailed a pig across a large beaver pond and was heading back toward the river bottom. The
decision was made to go around to head them off at the pass! While working our way back around to T-bone, we could tell the dogs
were following the scent from where some elusive and smart pigs had left the pork fest early. T-bone was making his way back to us
so we decided to finally call it a day. WRONG!! IT AIN’T HOW YOU START. IT’S HOW YOU FINISH!
Hoss once again had his game face on, and with the help of Lacy, an up and coming part of our Pee Dee cur pack, he wasn’t having
anything to do with calling it a day! With more luck than skill, I led the party out ahead of where Hoss and Lacy were heading. Lord
have mercy what did we see when we came around the corner of the sand pit!? A very large porker sneaking across an open field with
Lacy and Hoss dogging him! (I later found out that I didn’t see another good porker that was to cap off the day!) Back to the action.
“Let them catch! Let them catch!” the PDC was screaming.
“Catch hell!” screamed our party. “Let’s ride!”
And so we did. Man, I have ridden hard before, but this run was the most thrilling I have done in a long time. Pig, dogs, horses and
riders stretched out at break-neck speed across the field to the edge of a cutdown, around a corner and bam! A large tree lay across
the path. Our Tackies sprouted wings, and we flew over that tree, each rider on his own Pegasus.
“Let’s drag him out for some good pictures,” everyone shouted, and so we did after Mark showed us how a real cowboy would handle
the situation. With humble pie on our face, we proceeded to drag that 300-plus poker out to the truck. Or we thought. Lacy was gone!
To the bottom we rode. We stopped to water the dogs, and I glanced down at the GPS. Lacy was bayed at 200 yards. Oh man. We
were headed back into that hell hole cutdown. (Hold on, folks, we’re almost done.)
Lacy had the boar bayed, but by the time we got to her, he broke. The game dogs were soon baying him in what I thought was the
cutdown. Wrong! I hollered, “Water bay!! Water bay!!” Huh? “He’s in the lake. Let’s ride!”
Sure enough. There he was in the middle of the lake. Dogs, boar and lots of deep water! After swimming a few laps with the game
dogs on his head, that ol boar decided he needed to change zip codes, and he headed into the cutdown mentioned at the beginning of
this tall tale. Old Ashley was shucking down to his tighty whities until it dawned on him Coti was looking at him, so just his boots came
off. In he went with a sploosh. It was not exactly in Mark Spitz fashion, but he did ease into that black water and swam across to
relieve a very tired pack of dogs.
What a day in the river bottoms of the Great Pee Dee! It was a privilege for this old cowboy to have witnessed such grit displayed by
horses, dogs and humans.
We were still in sight of the horse trailer as we crossed a soybean field. I was riding Spirit, David was on Simpson, Brian and
Postell were getting re-aquainted, and Ashley rode his little Arabian Quarter Horse cross. Six dogs were fanned out in front of
us which meant one was already "missing." All of a sudden came the squalling growl of a game dog which sounded like he had
either grabbed or been grabbed or been grabbed by the devil himself. It was so intense and so abrupt that we thought it must
be a fight with coyotes or wild dogs. Here we go!!!! We're in good control as we gallop to where the noise is coming from. Then
to our surprise here comes Big Foot with all the dogs close on his tail. REALLY CLOSE!!! Somehow, the Pee Dee Cowboy
knows where this hog is headed, and I get my chance to do the Marsh Tacky Boogey. If Spirit has a higher gear for speed and
dexterity, I don't need to see it. We gallop "Hell bent for leather" and lean into a tight right cornering move as we bust through a
low branch and into a powerline right of way. There is one of the biggest boar hogs any of us have ever dealt with, still trying to
make headway with several dogs hanging on. I'm there with Ashley and David as he grabs a hind leg and I put the hog out of
the land owner's misery.
Brian is close behind and snapping pictures as Postell does a little victory dance just for the fun of it.
We mounted up and within a few minutes, the dogs caught another hog. This one was of the ideal size to grill. As we worked our
way across the landscape, we came upon an area that had been open land but was now head high thorny growth. Intriguing to
us was the obvious entrance that some tough hided animal had made it into it. As we worked our horses into it, the dogs hunted
the cool understory which looked just like a hog ought to be there. There was no way to see through this mess of vegetation, so
I was looking at the smaller trees to see if they might jerk to one side as a hog ran through. David said to get off the horses and
tie them as we would not be able to ride to a bay in this thick stuff. I had just seen a tree jerk left about 20 yards away when the
Pee Dee Cowboy let out a yelp. Here came a mid sized grunter running under Simpson's belly, bumping against David's leg.
Although no longer considered to be a young man, Mr. Grant's reactions are still pretty good. He made a quick swipe at El
Porko with the machete he held and turned him back the way he had come. We ran back down the path we had created with the
horses and over to where the dogs had caught the hog. I saw David make a dive and heard him say, "I've got him!! No I
don't!! Now I do!!" I took care of that one and we rode out to look for water for the dogs. That would have been great to have on
film. How many horses do you know that would stand calmly as a wild boar runs between their legs?
We didn't know it then, but that was it for the harvesting of hogs on that day. We worked hard and the horses worked harder to
cover more likely ground. There had been so little rain over the past 3 months that the swamps bordering the Pee Dee River
were dry and blooming with a lush grass normally foreign to such a flooded area. By 11:30 am, the dogs were done as were the
I call this story "Dunlap's Revenge" to give credit to Brian's comeback since his last hunt on that property. The last time we
hunted there, his horse got too close to a tree as we galopped to a hog bay and messed up his day. Actually, it was Brian's
Revenge on the hogs in that area that we had missed, and his revenge on his beat up sense of horsemanship. That is one
thing we can always learn from horses about ourselves. There is always the option to get back in the saddle being wiser,
stronger, and more capable from the experience of getting knocked down. Horses are usually tolerant and sensitive enough to
give us another try. We can all thank God that BRIAN is BACK.
In his own reflections of the day, Brian was heard saying "Riding Marsh Tackies in the river bottoms of our great state in the wild
pursuit of boar hogs is nothing less than spiritual.
I am quoting our beloved hunt master, the Pee Dee Cowboy himself as he wrote regarding this hunt, "Folks, if heaven is better
than this, take my word for it, if you ain't a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, you best kneel down at this moment. For it is as he
promises streets of gold, and contrary to what most of y'all think, the Pee Dee Cowboy will be there waiting on you! As the
keeper of our Lord's stables!"
I take this, dear friends, as confirmation that heaven is at least as rewarding as the best hog hunt ever, and also that it must
include Marsh Tacky horses.
Suddenly, we heard the dogs fighting a few hundred yards away in the same Vietnam-like cover. The temperature was in
the high 70s, making the hog meat spoil quickly if left unattended. A quick decision was made to remove the back straps, ice
them in the saddle bags and go as quickly as possible to the new hog location. When the meat was put away, we mounted and
galloped to the closest point to get to the new fight. When Cody and Ashley got to the dogs, they had caught not one but two
300-pound hogs. The fighting intensified when the hogs saw the hunters. One of the hogs threw off the dogs and disappeared
into the jungle. The other hog was thrown from its feet. Joe moved into the killing position ad stabbed the hog. The familar
silence was again broken by the sound of the other dogs locked into another engagement. With no time to process the second
hog, we rushed back to the horses and again galloped using the tracking device to the next fight location.
We found the dogs and hog fighting under an overhanging bank of a small pond. David and Cody immediatly grabbed a
lariat and went into the swampy water up to their waste. They were able to lasso the smaller hog and drag it out of the pond. If
the hog was immediately killed, it would spoil due to the heat. It was therefore hobbled and slung onto the largest horse's saddle
horn to be carried back to camp for processing. Suddenly the dogs were off and running fast behind yet another hog.
Using the tracking device, we galopped over a mile seeing hog and dog tracks in the middle of the dirt path. This hog was a
real runner, eventually taking us a couple of miles to another intensly thick jungle. We slogged up the creek on the wonderfully
tough Marsh Tacky horses to a place where the dogs had caught the hog and faught. The hog had thrown the dogs off and
escaped. Once again, old "Big Foot" had proven his toughness and lived to be hunted another day.
Riding back to camp, we returned to the location of the first hog killed. Doc, the quarter horse was taken into the jungle
and used to pull the hog out. The animal was so heavy, the horse was pulled over backwards trying to get the hog up the last
bank to the path. After a struggle, the hog was finally freed from the vines and pulled onto the path. With the help of DP,
David's Marsh Tacky stallion, the dead hog was dragged away. The smaller hog was cleaned and prepared for a future pig
This hunting trip offered by David Grant was made very special by the use of his Marsh Tacky horses. These horses are
rather small in statue but have tremendous hearts. The entire day, I never noticed any of them sweating or looking the least bit
tired or winded. Somehow their hide seems to repel the intense briars, sticks, vines and insects. The pleasure of riding them
was my favorite part of the entire trip. No one would believe that the horses we hunted with that day could have been in such a
hostile environment without showing any cuts or scratches.
Thank you David, for a wonderful experience. Let's book another hunt as soon as possible!
The strange thing was that the dogs would take off, and the best ones might be gone at a distance for 10 minutes or so. David
would look at the tracking collar GPS and say, “Those dogs are on a hog. They’re too far off and too long gone”. Hoss and
Gator came back wet and covered in mud, and someone said, “Something's up 'cause them dogs don’t leak a drop.” You don’t
hear such colorful descriptions of animal character very often so I looked around to see if the ghost of humorist Will Rogers, had
joined the hunt. It was Ashley Jones, master farrier and hog hunter extraordinaire, who had made the observation. I knew
immediately that he referred to the trailing integrity of the dogs mentioned. They were “sealed tight”. They were professional
athletes in their field of endeavor. They had not been off running deer or engaged in some other non-productive pursuit, but
had jumped hogs which ran into the boggy rice fields where their scent was lost. At least that gave some sense to the dearth of
hogs amidst so much sign.
Speaking of sign, hogs are not shy about indicating where they have been or how big they are. The size of hogs in an area can
be determined by their markings on trees. They intentionally rub the sides of their shaggy mud covered bodies against the
rough bark much as a dog will throw itself on the ground and roll to scratch and rid itself of things that itch. The mud on some of
the trees we passed was belt high. That, my friends, speaks loudly of hogs big enough to turn the chaser into one being
chased. These are hogs that no doubt come fully equipped with ATTITUDE.
We dismounted to stretch our legs, where the security of long range woods vistas and firm ground gave way to acres upon
acres of old rice fields left in recent generations to whatever Mother Nature might make of them. David had just commented how
strange it was that the dogs hadn’t even “booger barked” when it happened…. Martha sounded off with such a growling “Booger
Bark” that the five of us were “boogered” into action, sprinting down the woods edge and into an environment much better suited
to amphibians and shore birds than to narrow footed men. The chase, for the dogs, was short as most are. We could hear that
the hog, or hogs were bayed, and made our way toward that cacophony as best we could, looking for myrtle bushes and scrub
oaks that might mark the remnants of old dikes heading in the direction we were trying to go. Otherwise the ground was
relatively floating, and was quite willing to swallow each step, from the top of a boot to the bottom of a hip. We slogged to a canal
with a width of about seven feet which separated us from the action. David said, “I’m going.” He handed me his GPS tracker,
backed up three mud sucking steps, and hurled himself at the canal with serious and impressive intent. We on our side, in fact,
made comment to the same as he grabbed the marsh grass and fought to pull himself across the final two feet of canal and
thigh deep mud. We followed with similar results, got to the hog and dispatched it.
We had found where the hogs were, and as we fought our way on foot to one bay and stuck the hog, several dogs would take
off and get on another one. Every step was a challenge. To have the hunt master say, “Tug is bayed at 400 yards” ultimately
began to sound like more challenge than I thought I could handle. I’m not as fit as I once was, but I came to see that as a team
we were sufficiently fit to get the job done. We harvested 7 or 8 hogs, several of which were in the 150 pound range.
Without a doubt the hunters worked harder on this day than did the horses although they too were challenged, in a few cases,
as we crossed belly deep mud to get through shallow sloughs. In one case, I turned around in the saddle to take a picture of
David and DP making the last crossing. I got a great shot of the rider grabbing a small tree to help himself dismount as DP came
to “fullstop” and bogged, momentarily. Impressive to see was the “matter of fact demeanor” of both horse and rider in a
situation with the potential for high drama. Later on in the afternoon as we were headed back toward our starting point, the
Marsh Tacky, Gator, and rider Travis Anderson gave us some entertainment as the horse repeatedly reared in an effort to
assert himself. As I watched from behind, Gator reared, and Travis pulled his head around so that his nose almost touched
Travis’ knee. That’s simply what you do to control a horse who is misbehaving. Horses do not like going in tight circles and most
of the time they will straighten up after a few turns. He let Gator have his head and up he went again. I could see Travis’ face
as all this was going on, and his expression was similar to what you might expect had you observed him been strolling down
Main Street to mail a letter…total calm. As the horse reared and he again pulled Gator’s head around, the horse lost its balance
and began to fall backwards. It was like watching an equestrian ballet, in slow motion. As Gator came back on his right flank
Travis bent his right knee and eased his leg and body out of the way. They rolled onto the ground, and as horse and rider
recovered Travis remounted almost before Gator regained his feet. What could I say except, “Well done?"
The reader at this point may be asking, “What is it that draws these men to exert themselves so; to pursue a creature of such
relatively little redeeming value; to expose themselves to what some might consider unacceptable risk? The socio-economic
characteristics of men who ride horses after wild hogs run the full spectrum of education, profession, and income. None of that
or the lack thereof, has any bearing on the acceptance of the man to the game. Acceptance to the game has everything to do
with what one brings to the table in ability, in willingness to learn what you don’t know, and in devotion to the task at hand. Men
have something in them, at some level that thrills to the chase, and to the camaraderie of successful conquest. This passion
and the endeavor of the hunt have a significant visceral element. There is a connection between body, beast, environment, and
spirit that touches more than the five senses. How can one explain the satisfaction of standing by the harvested prey, out of
breath, covered in mud, spent yet laughing with, congratulating and slapping the backs of friends, without whom you would not
have succeeded? Like it or not, Ladies, it is in our DNA.
As Brian and I headed back toward Mt. Pleasant, and I reflected on the day, and the ground we had covered, I thought about
the fact that people often will take on the characteristics of those beings with whom they most closely associate. I rubbed my
swollen knees, and knew that at least psychologically we were becoming Marsh Tacky.
Submitted in Grateful Appreciation, to Carolina Marsh Tacky Outdoors,
Almost back out to the road, Marion said, "I hear a dog!" Yep, he was right. The dogs had the kamikaze hog in a 4-foot ditch full
Last but not least, I will mention I rode Sage into a very tight spot and hooked him up to that boar hog. In true Tacky form, Sage
brought that hog out through the brambles and mud where we could get some pictures.
Another good hunt with good friends, good Pee Dee cur dogs and good Tacky horses doing what they were bred to do: hunt
wild boar in the river bottoms of our great state, by which they will forever be etched in history as the state horse of South
P.S. Speaking of Sage and Ashley Jones, the photos below don't do this slough crossing justice. We were chasing a large boar
with our dogs during a different hunt and encountered this very wide and straight down slough. It was a straight drop of about 6
feet at the top!!! I had just crossed it riding DP and I knew I had to stop and capture it with my camera, because I couldn't
believe we had made it down and back up!!
"Hoss-Hoggin" Swamp Style on the Big Pee Dee River
-- Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 by John Sosnowski
First of all, dear readers, if I have committed an offense in coining the term "Hoss-Hoggin", please forgive me, and simply cull
the term forever out of your hunting vernacular. I know that domesticated hogs gone feral have been hunted in the South
Carolina woods and swamps almost since the first pig got out of its pen and grew tusks. Hog Hunting almost by its very nature
has had an innate association with horses and dogs although wild hogs can be hunted on foot, from four wheelers, from
elevated deer stands, with or without the use of dogs. However, my experience last Saturday as I pursued these creatures with
David Grant and Brian Stanton, injected my very soul with such a high sense of being alive and well, that I thought it'd be
worthy of a description connoting greater visceral zeal than simply "Hog Hunting".
My friend, Brian Stanton has been hunting for nigh on 20 years with David Grant (known widely as the Pee Dee Cowboy), and
for 2 years had angled to make an opportunity for me to join them. During this 2 year period, as my wife Patti became aware of
the impending invitation, she expressed concerns for my safety, as she knows of the bad attitude and sharp tusks associated
with hogs. My 88-year-old father, who hunted hogs years ago, has told stories of hunters being on the ground, to
watch "caught" boars get tied, only to watch in horror as the catch dogs got thrown off. The result then was 300 pounds of
angry hog looking for a fight with whoever might be closest. His advice to me was, "Stay on the horse when the dogs catch the
hog, and if someone offers you a long knife for the experience of dispatching said hog, you should politely decline." I told him I
would be careful. As I left the house in the dark last Saturday, I left Patti a note saying, "I promise I won't pet the hogs."
By 8:30 a.m., we were gathered on a red clay road, in the Big Pee Dee River Basin, having saddled the horses and introduced
ourselves to the other hunters. David called us together in order for Brian to offer up thanks to the Almighty, for the great
privilege of enjoying His creation, to pray for our safety, and for the successful harvest of a few of His hogs. I smiled as I
witnessed a scene familiar to all across the generations who have gathered pre-hunt to discuss strategy. Our host Leigh
Hamric walked over to a level spot in the road and knelt down on one knee. The familiar scene was that of men, forever young
and hopeful, kneeling down, unfolding pocket knives, and drawing in the packed dirt a map of roads, field edges, hardwood
lots, and "hog wallers". Planning where the drivers would go to push the game, and marking spots where the standers would
be. The familiarity was indeed comforting.
Also comforting as I mounted a Pee Dee Marsh Tacky named Chicora aka "Chuck", was his well mannered steadiness. I am well
familiar with horses and hard riding in the woods, but I had not hunted hogs before. As my experience with and observation of
these Marsh Tacky horses continued, I was increasingly impressed with their dependability and durability. As we trotted down
the woods road under the clear blue sky, David on DP and Brian riding Simpson, the horses' breath billowed out in the clouds,
and 8 dogs ran beside and in front of us looking for fresh tracks. These were dogs with names like Boaz, Cowboy, Bobo, and
Hoss. For the most part, they were smaller than a Blue Tick, high energy creatures, muscular in body, blocky headed,
Catahoula and Louisiana cur crossed with other breeds, surely carrying some Pitt Bull DNA, yet clearly enjoying human contact.
They were actually not unlike my friend Brian. I'm talking seriously though, dependable, and committed. No reflection on his
lineage intended, Brian's that is.
I must take some space here in order to do justice to the one canine that was clearly unique amongst his peers. This dog goes
by the name of Bill. As I'm sure you know, dogs like people have personality and character, some more so than others. Bill is of
the Feist breed, smaller than all the other dogs by 30 pounds or more, yet firmly established as the leader. Long ago, Bill had
obviously been voted by his peers as "The dog most likely to strike a hog." There was no discussion about it. It was a
known fact. Bill was very business-like and took his job seriously. Yes, Bill was smaller than the other dogs, but no one had ever
told him so, and he was clearly unaware of this fact. He was always the first to find a track. He let the other dogs secure the
hog, helping as he could from his lower vantage point, and by the time we got there, Bill might be lying in a puddle resting or
might have left to go look for another hog. If some people were more like Bill, I think our country would be in much better shape.
We hunted for about 45 minutes around pond edges and through pine thickets without the dogs striking a trail. We came to the
edge of a cut-down where pines had been harvested within the past 2 years. It was grown up about waist high in gum saplings,
dog fennel and myrtle bushes. The ground was littered with discarded limbs and old tree tops. We started in with the dogs, and
all at once they took off like 10-year-old boys at the sound of an ice cream truck. David hollered, "There they go! There's
another one! Look at 'em!" I looked where he pointed and saw a large brown shape plowing a path, trying to get to the woods.
Then 2 or 3 midsized ones flushed right and left. I heard "POW! POW!" as a hunter threw 2 loads at one busting into the road.
The dogs bayed, and we galloped across the cut-down trying to spot them, and trying to see where the horses were putting
their feet. We came upon the commotion, and David was quickly off the horse, simply dropping the reins. He posted the hog
(grabbed one hind leg), and hollered "COME ON JOHN, COME ON!" DP stood calmly as I moved in to facilitate that
essential first step in the transition from hog on the hoof to BBQ on the grill. With that one harvested, we were no sooner on the
horses than the dogs bayed again. Brian got there first, posted the hog, and I repeated the process.
There were more hogs in the area, but Bill was missing, and David had him located by GPS several hundred yards away, and
bayed. I heard David say into the radio, "Bill's got a hog and have to go honor him." That's just what we did moving through
some beautiful thinned timber in towards that dog. The pack with us heard Bill before we could and bolted towards him. When
we arrived, dogs and hog were in the midst of a mass of thorns and briars you couldn't see through much less walk in to. The
Pee Dee Cowboy walked in backwards and fell down. He said, "Pull me up." Then I got it. He was making a way through this
thicket with his shirt and vest covered back rather than with his uncovered face, although by the time we got back out, it looked
like David faired almost as badly as the hog. I offered him my white handkerchief and he used it. Being the gentleman that he
is, he put it in his pocket. Who says there's no gentility in hog hunting?
The drivers on horseback took 5 hogs that day and the standers took 2. There is certainly excitement and drama each time the
dogs bay, but in most hunts there is a high point, perhaps even a dramatic pinnacle, and this day was no exception. After the
third kill, we were riding to the next block of woods, and as Brian looked off to the right, he saw a huge black sow moving along
the far edge of a field, and in a loud whisper said, "HOG, HOG, HOG!" David put his finger to his lips for us to be quiet, and
motioned us to ride around a woods edge to cut her off as she was headed for the swamp. He and the dogs moved out to get
closer before the hog became aware of their presence. Within a few seconds the chase was on. Brian and I galloped to where
the dogs should have been, but the hog had already gone past. We jumped off the horses and ran through the woods toward
the now familiar sound of hog and dogs locked in mortal combat. They were already in the swamp. About 10 steps into the knee
deep water, Brian stepped in it up to his chest, and made a sound that is difficult to describe indicating that the water was
probably cold. David said, "Keep going that's as deep as it gets." I quickly looked to see if Brian was walking or swimming and
crashed in behind him. The water was indeed cold and I found myself making a similar sound. We pushed on to where I saw the
300 pounder, with the Pee Dee Cowboy holding one leg and hollering, "Come on John, come on!" As the dogs did their job, we
proceeded to help that hog on to that "acorn flat in the Great Beyond." After floating the hog back to high ground, David, Brian
and I whooped, high fived, and gave thanks for the great good fortune to feel so alive and blessed to have the opportunity to
pursue this game.
Finally we gathered the dogs and moved out to pick up the hogs we had left in the cut-down marked by GPS. Brian lifted one
up to me from the ground, and I rode out with it across the saddle in front of me while David put a rope on the larger one and
had DP drag it out. Brian came out with one hung from his saddle as well. Toting an animal out across my lap on a horse was a
new experience for me, and I was impressed yet again by Chicora's ever steady demeanor. I don't think that he ever had a hog
or deer draped across him either.
Having for years heard Brian tell stories of his adventures with David Grant, I now have a deeper understanding of the tight
relationship that exists between hog hunters, their horses and their dogs. There is a level of dependence and trust developed
over time that is necessary for success and safety. That relationship is relished far beyond the experience of the hunt. It is hard
to explain the motivation for a man to scramble up to a pack of dogs fighting a big hog, knowing that shooting it is not an option.
I can only say that in my case, that motivation was deeply rooted in a high level of confidence that the friend doing the posting
was able and willing to do his part, and that the dogs were able and willing to do theirs. This I think is an attraction that most
women, but not all, have a difficult time understanding. However, the observant wife or significant other will no doubt recognize
and appreciate the mental and emotional well being that emanates from her man for days after he has returned to civilization. I
know my head is clearer.
I began by saying that I had never before hunted hogs on horseback. I can tell you now having emerged on the other side of
this experience, that if you ever show up to a "Hoss Hoggin' Honkey-Tonk", you'd better be ready to dance. Otherwise you may
run the risk of getting culled from the game like a lame rooster as being a hindrance to the process.
I also assure you that this low country island boy looks forward with great anticipation to the next opportunity to go "Hoss-
Hoggin" Swamp Style or any style.
A Good Hunt Gone Bad - Through the Eyes of the Pee Dee Cowboy
-- Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 by David Grant
Folks, you won't hear the Pee Dee Cowboy tell you the Marsh Tacky is the breed of horse you should buy. You must make that
decision yourself, because, in the words of my good friend and Marsh Tacky owner/lover Marion Broach, "Buying a Marsh Tacky
horse is like buying a Harley Davidson motorcycle. They ain't for everyone."
Sit back and read this account of a good hunt gone bad!
This hunt holds many regrets for the Pee Dee Cowboy. First is not having any pictures, but when you are in a bind with a
sunken horse that won't move, you don't think, "Take some pictures." Second regret is this was a first hog hunt for my nephew,
Steven Grant (whose account has been posted below). It wasn't what we had planned!
We were invited to go after a group of porkers that had moved across the road from one of our plantations we hunt. We did a
brief reconnaissance trip and thought we had them pinpointed. Wrong again! Folks, I usually don't write about bad hunts, but
this one must be told.
On the hunt was the Pee Dee Cowboy up on Sage, who was having a bad day, so I thought; first time hog hunter and nephew
of the Pee Dee Cowboy, Steven Grant, on Chicora, alias "Chuck"; Marion Broach on Toogoodoo, today's alias "Submarine";
seasoned hog hunter Jeff Clark riding up-and-coming gelding Simpson; and last but not least, first-time hog hunter Tom
Skinner on Blue, the only non-Marsh Tacky on this hunt. But as you will read, a darn good horse with some duck somewhere in
his ancestry. Oh, and last but not least, our fine pack of Pee Dee curs.
We turned loose about 9 a.m. on this soon to be infamous morning. We were riding down an old logging road and seeing some
fresh "sign". I could feel the anticipation by our first-timers. I noticed where some hogs were moving into a wet area that was on
the backside of where we had seen a good bit of sign on our reconnaissance trip, so we headed to a food plot to see if we
could strike a fresh hog track; Well, here goes the good hunt gone bad! Sage, dead broke Marsh Tacky (we have killed deer
off him, drug hogs, done everything on and to him) and today he didn't want to cross a ditch!!! Folks, if you have never seen
the Pee Dee Cowboy get wound up, count yourself one fortunate individual. I have many faults, and temper ranks up at the top.
Let's just say that Sage will have a refresher course coming up with the Pee Dee Cowboy aboard. (I will interject: We put novice
riders on Sage because he is so broke, but he is a horse and they will be horses and today he thought he could do as he
pleased.) Redemption, Webster defines it as the act of redeeming. Well today, I would witness from the hurricane deck of Sage
one helluva feat of redemption!
Bill bayed a hog for a minute and before the catch dogs could get to him, ughhh!!!, a runner. He broke camp for parts
unknown, I thought. Let me interject that it is tough hunting a place for the first time. There are so many variables: Where will
the hog run? Where are the boundaries? Where are the bogs? (We will answer that one in a few paragraphs.) Another tidbit I
will add after the upcoming fiasco... we were hunting the edges of the property and discovered the big boars were coming from
across the road. Another negative to the hunt: "visiting" boars looking for willing girlfriends. These visitors will go straight home
when jumped. Have you ever tried following a surprised lover from his temporary love nest to his "bedroom"? Next to
impossible. Well enough of Dr. Phil and back to the hunt. In my mind, and unknown to the party, I was not liking the scene that
was shaping up: running hogs, very thick cover and very wet! We rode over to a food plot, and the dogs got gamey and
disappeared into the Amazon-like rain forest. We heard an ole sow grunting with our Pee Dee curs close behind. Here we went,
dodging limbs, climbing over logs, lunging over briars! Suddenly, we had a bay, and in a few minutes, the curs had a nice black
sow, 150-plus pounds. This was the only bright spot of the day, but we didn't realize it at the time.
The dogs were gone again. Jeff went to the bay, not realizing what he was about to lead us into, an hour of hell! Before we
realized it, we were about to enter a wet spot with no bottom, Jeff on Simpson, who was thrashing to get his footing, and I must
say that for a young horse he was doing a good job. Somehow I was in the back of the line. Steven on Chuck was starting to
sink, and I think he stepped off. It was starting to turn into chaos quickly. I looked in front of me and saw Jeff on Simpson, who
was sunk down to the saddle horn, Steven standing beside Chuck with nothing but his head showing above the muck, Marion
on Toogoodoo who managed to still be moving, and poor old Blue sunk and laying over to his side. What a pitiful sight. Here I
was in a pretty good spot. I could still maneuver. What's a cowboy to do? I urged Sage on. Did I mention that in this muck
were briars?! Plenty of them... walls of them! And here comes redemption!! Sage did not want to do it, but he plunged into that
morass of horses and dogs and soaked hunters and did, for the lack of better words, THE MARSH TACKY SHUFFLE. Folks,
with me on his back, he was making headway where the others had failed. I got around them and went to find a way out.
Words can't do justice for what I felt this Tacky doing, bottoming out, gaining some traction, lifting his front feet independently
from his hindquarters so he could pull with his front feet. I didn't realize that until Jeff told me what he saw. The others quickly
realized that this was the only way they would/could get out of that hell hole. Back to Blue. He was down and laying on his side.
Bad news on a cold day. I had to get us out of there. Marion with some very good riding had managed to get Toogoodoo on a
small patch of solid ground. Steven had let Chuck try to get out on his own. Jeff was trying to find another way out. I decided I
must make a path out. We were only 50 yards from the road. Another kick in the back: The dogs were bayed, but we were
useless to them. I let Sage have his head and he swam/lunged/dug/shuffled. To top it off, the last five yards were solid briars.
The best he could do is rear up and come down on top of them. Finally, I was out! And out came Toogoodoo and Chuck
riderless! One more time, Sage went back to get Blue out! What a sight: a 1,000-pound horse give out laying on his side. I
swear it looked to me like he had a look that said, "You got me here, now help me out!" I will attest, Blue is a heck of a horse.
He never panicked. He was just too heavy and sank.
Folks, just let your mind drift back to 1776 when there were no bridges across the swamps in South Carolina, only fords and
causeways. No wonder Francis Marion and his militia (according to my research) on Marsh Tacky horses were able to out
maneuver the larger horses of the British Redcoats. And just think, they did this in the dead of winter when all they had was a
fire -- if they were lucky enough -- to be able to stop and dry out.
We were finally out! Dejected, wet, tired and wanting to quit. But I thought of Marion's men who said: "We fight, we get beat, we
rise up to fight again." So I said, "Let's press on!"
I would never on purpose put a horse through what we did on this hunt. I think it was Marion Broach who said on his way
out, "These Tackies sure showed what they were made up of today." I just grunted under my breath and let my mind drift. Life is
a journey with many adventures along the way. I am humbled that the good Lord has allowed me to share my exploits astride
these great little horses called the Marsh Tacky. Until next time, adieu.
A Good Hunt Gone Bad - Through the Eyes of a Novice Hog Hunter
-- Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2010 by Steven Grant
I got to go hunting with my uncle on my first horseback hog hunt the other day. What a rush! First of all, I am not very proficient
on the back of a horse. I have ridden horses before while deer hunting and have done some joy riding, but nothing like I
expected I would be riding on this day. There is a big difference from riding down a dirt road, open pasture, bean field, or cotton
field versus through twelve foot of pines with briar patches lurking within. Then throw in some, well let's make that a lot of water
with some ditches in the way, you set yourself up for some extreme riding. One of the main reasons I have not gone with Uncle
David before now was that I worried about not being able to ride and keep up with him and the others. After today, I was told I
did not have to worry about that anymore. But I am sure my uncle will show me plenty other ways to get thrown from a horse in
We had gone earlier in the week to do a little scouting and to learn the lay of the land. This was a new piece of property that my
uncle had gained permission to hunt on. While we were riding and looking for signs he would point and say, "I bet those hogs
are laid up in there." Then he would throw a few words in the air that would make an eye brow of mine rise. As he would nod
toward the young pines with a jungle of briars within he would state that we would probably be heading into there to stick a pig. I
kept the statement to myself but I was thinking that there is no way we are going to ride a horse into there. The pine limbs alone
looked as if they would not allow it. I expect we would dismount and walk from here, leaving the horses behind. Well, I should
have known better from the years of growing up chasing waterfowl with my uncle. He could and would make a John Boat get
into places that it was never designed to enter. Thanks Uncle David, my John Boat looks the way it does today because of you
being my mentor!
I showed up the morning of the hunt only to find everyone standing around waiting for me. Man do I hate when I'm the one
holding up the show. I had left the house with plenty of time to spare but of course got turned around and had to do some
backtracking and scratching the ole loggin, trying to remember where that darn turn was supposed to be. I started grabbing my
stuff in a hurry and of course forgot the most important thing, the camera! I did manage to grab my back pack and actually took
a quick glance at my bow. I had thought about strapping it over my back, just in case the perfect opportunity arose. Man, am I
glad I did not. I can now picture one of the thousand limbs that rolled over my back snatching and picking me up off the horse. I
am sure that the others would have had a good laugh with me dangling from a limb. I bet I would have sounded something like
the pig I was going to hear in my near future.
The hunt started with a quick prayer and the release of the hounds. I felt like a true cowboy while mounting up. I could not help
but think of the "real" cowboys back in the day, mounting up to head out on a round up. I looked around and saw Uncle David
up on Sage, Mr. Marion Broach on Toogoodoo, Mr. Jeff Clark on Simpson, and Mr. Tom Skinner on Blue. I would be paired up
with Chicora, which I would end up whispering many sweet nothings into his ear throughout the day. I was trying to use the
same charm that I used on my wife. The kind of charm where we men try to talk our women out of one of those sweet kisses,
but sound "cool" while doing so. I was hoping that I could persuade Chicora not to break my neck! So with the building of
excitement an anticipation of the hunt, off I go. I allow Chicora to fall behind Sage, wondering what I am getting myself into. The
first part of the hunt is going well and uneventful which allows me to build a little confidence while on the back of Chicora. I
quickly learn that all I have to do is allow Chicora to stay behind Uncle David and Sage, hold on and get into the rhythm of
ducking the many limbs that would pass over my head. (Again, I would picture the many scenes of cowboy movies where the
guy is hanging from the limb and the horse keeps going.) Of course, this is why my uncle put me on Chicora. Wherever
Sage went, Chicora would follow without hesitation. I was grateful for this but also a little nervous. I could not help but think of
the areas that my uncle had pointed to the week before during our scouting trip.
We trodded along and the excitement built as we got closer to a food plot where we had seen the most hog signs during our
earlier scouting expedition. Now to get into this food plot, there was a nice pretty road entering it about a hundred yards farther
down. But of course the "game trails" would cross through a ditch before reaching the road access. Where does Uncle David
point Sage? Yep, toward the ditch. Sage hesitates and starts receiving some persuasion with a slap or two from the uncle. You
have to understand that I (being the smart guy that I am) realize that if Sage goes, you know is going to follow. So me being me,
I am silently agreeing with Sage on this idea. So while Uncle David is wrestling with Sage, Jeff and Marion point their two horses
that way and give it a try. Now of course, with Toogoodoo and Simpson seeing Sage acting up, like children, they decide to act
up too. I am now witnessing three horses cutting circles, three men on their backs with the same determination I have when
trying to get my 5-year-old to pick up her toys. The only thing I could do was stay out of the way and hope Chicora won't join in
on the action. With each passing second it became more evident that I would most likely have to cross that ditch. While I am
trying to mentally prepare myself for the event, I hear my saving Grace. I hear one of the hounds let out a sweet yelp; this
immediately gets the attention of everyone and the "must cross ditch" mode switches to "HOG"! To my great relief we make a
beeline to the easy way into the food plot I mentioned earlier. We start noticing even fresher signs and see why the dogs have
struck. Seconds later we all hear a squeal of a pig and the throaty grunt of a sow. It was ON! I catch a glance of a pig turning
and heading back into the briars and young pines. And what else do I see? Uncle David pointing Sage's nose into the briars
straight in behind the dogs and hog. And of course, ole faithful Chicora doesn't hesitate to follow. So now my rhythm of ducking
and dodging limbs has picked up a couple of notches. I am trying to eyeball every limb, briar and tree in front of me in a matter
of milliseconds. During these seconds I noticed that Sage seemed to be a little fatter than Chicora. This observation had its
importance in realizing I did not have to worry as much about the distance to the trees as originally thought. I did end up
misjudging a briar or two by the looks of my right ear. I also learned why everyone else had leather gloves on; the ole hands of
mine took a beating. As we started closing in on the commotion we could hear tht the dogs had the hog pinned down. Within
seconds, Chicora was coming to a halt and Uncle David, Marion and Jeff were off their horses and right up there with the dogs.
I held back and figured I would stay put at the safest place my mind was telling me. On the back of this horse! Of course,
Marion noticed this, smiled and stated I should hop down and join the action. I think it was Marion who offered me to do the
honors (mind could not process all the action fast enough), but I quickly declined after looking at the knives the others were
carrying. I immediately understood that I needed to get myself a bigger knife and why.
So now, with one pig down and me surviving the action, I was feeling pretty good about this new way (to me) of hunting hogs.
(Talking about a complete 180 from spot and stalking with a bow in hand!) With the marking of the dead pig with the GPS, we
were off to hunt out another. As we fought to keep up with the dogs, I noticed that we were getting into a wet area within the
young pines. We all know that one bad thing about going into a new area is that you have no way of knowing what to expect.
We had ridden into an area that during an average year would have only been slightly wet but of course with all the recent rain,
it had turned into a full blown bog! If you can picture an 8-year-old cutover with planted pines, throw a lot of briar patches and
high grasses into the mix, you can get an idea of what we were dealing with. The visibility was not good because of the young
pines and before we knew it, we were getting into trouble fast. The solid footing for the horses in a few inches of water went
to bottomless muck in a foot of water. I noticed Chicora was struggling and within a few feet went down. My feet that were
dangling in stirrups seconds before were now stuck in the mud under a foot of water. I just stepped out of my saddle and tried
to help Chicora up. With much useless help from me, Chicora made it to his feet and started making his way on out. He did
hesitate and looked at me as to ask, "Do you want to ride?" I guess, he read my eyes and saw that I had had enough for the
moment and would wade myself out. While all this was happening I noticed Tom and Blue also struggling. Blue, being a bigger
breed of horse, was catching it the worse of all the horses. Each struggle would put him deeper into the muck than the others. It
did not take him long before he was stuck and slap worn out. He had run his marathon within yards and was going to have to
dig in deep to get out of this mess. The road that we now desperately needed to reach was less than a hundred yards away but
felt like miles to Blue, Tom and I. The one thing that gave me hope was that Sage, Toogoodoo, Simpson and Chicora (without
his "driver") made it out. This had also opened up a path through the hellish marsh with a jungle of briars growing within. Blue
had gotten up several times to only bog right back down. This bottomless pit that we had found was about 20 feet wide. After
that, the footing became solid enough for the horses to stand and slosh their way out. Blue still had 10 feet to go before he
would be out of the worst of it. The entire time, I was amazed at how all the horses were mentally handling the situation. I never
once saw any of them come unglued. All I could see was Ole Blue worn out and needing to take a breather. He was down again
and could not move in the muck that had surrounded him. Then the unthinkable happened! Uncle David proceeded to ride
Sage back into the hell hole (a testament of how tough Sage is) with Marion and Jeff wading back in on foot to lend a hand.
They then decided we had to get Blue on his feet before this bad situation becomes any worse. Between the three of us we
were able to get Blue rolled over from off his right side to sitting up favoring his left side. I then stood back and watched as
Uncle David tied a rope from the saddle horn of Sage to the saddle horn of Blue. I watched as Sage obeyed the command and
started to dig in and commence to giving Blue a pull. How my uncle stayed in that saddle and how Sage kept from tipping over I
will never understand. It was the most exteme action I think I will ever see from a horse and a man. This action did not get Blue
out but seemed to give him just enough motivation to get turned around and pointed in the right direction. After letting Blue and
all of us men catch another breather, we commenced to pulling and tugging again. Marion pulling on the reins of Blue with Jeff
slapping his rump. This again gave Blue just enough motivation to get up and start moving forward while watching Sage lead
the way. With this last effort he was able to make it to solid ground and stay on his feet. Now I am worried that if Marion looses
his footing, Blue would end up walking on top of him. I think Blue saw the path that Sage and the other horses had opened up
for him and saw the light at the end of the tunnel. He was ready to get out of the hour of hell he had found himself in, and we all
Now that we all were on the road and solid ground, we took a quick break and to see if we could figure out our next move. While
all this... mud boggin... had played out, the dogs had struck on two different hogs. Those were our missed opportunities, but we
were determined to find some more. With a new game plan, we circled the area looking to see if the dogs could pick up on a
hog that we had maybe run out. We made our way around the cutover and decided to try and circle back around to the main
road. This way we would be covering/hunting a different area but making our way to retrieve the downed hog. As we got closer
to the main road it started to get wetter and rougher. I was worried and thinking to myself, "Here we go again!" This time, luck
would remain with us. We had stumbled into a small narrow drainage that ran to a tile under the main road. As we got closer to
the road, the drainage got deeper. I looked down and could see that the water was starting to touch Chicora's belly. As I was
thinking this is not good, I hear my uncle say nonchalantly that we may have to swim a little ways. I will admit that this got my
attention and I started wondering what exactly "we" meant. I was going to watch him and just do as he does. I contemplated
whether you're supposed to ride a swimming horse the same way as you ride a walking horse?? Well, our good Lord answered
my silent prayer, because I ended up not having to find out how to stay on a swimming horse. As we came to the road, with the
horses still in belly deep water, I was greeted with a ditch bank that was chest high to Chicora. I'm thinking there is no way we
are getting up and out of this ditch. I watch Sage power his way up the bank and think to myself, "Never say never." With Sage
now up on the road, my faithful Chicora tries to power his way up but at the very top loses his footing and drops to his knees.
Again he allows me to step off before attempting to make his way on up the bank. He never panicked and seemed to take it all
in stride. I remounted and watched as the other horses and riders struggled up and over. Finally we were all on the road and
headed back to retrieve "the hardest working for pig in history!"
Do you remember the ditch I mentioned earlier? The one that Sage did not want to cross? Well, we were now following
alongside of it down the road. I heard Uncle David give a determined chuckle and mumble to Sage, "You and your ditch will
meet again." I thought to myself, "I don't think you are going to get out of this one." Chicora and I were ready to jump a ditch,
whether we wanted to or not. As we reach the crossing to the food plot, I watch as Sage's nose gets pointed toward that ditch
again. Once again, here comes the scolding and rump slapping as Sage refuses. Both rider and horse determined to make the
other give in. Well, as I watched, the rider won and Sage cleared the ditch. Then goes Simpson with Toogoodoo on his heels.
All I did was hold on as Chicora did a side step or two getting everything just right and then over we went. I might have enjoyed
it if not for the fear of loosing my grip on the horn of the saddle. We made our way back through the thick pines and briars. As I
was getting back into the rhythm of dodging limbs, we made it to the hog we had come to retrieve. Jeff, Marion and Uncle David
tied the hog off to the saddle horn of Sage and started dragging her on out. I again was amazed as Sage dragged that hog up
and over logs, through briars and pines. I have come to the conclusion that the engineers that came up with the theory of 1hp
shorted the power of a single horse. A 5hp Briggs and Stratton has nothing on Sage! As we made our way back to the ditch, I
thought the horses know we will be heading back home soon. Each hopped over with a little more grace this time.
We were all tired and worn out, but what an experience! I have now ridden a horse through areas I never dreamed a horse
could go. I did it without getting thrown or knocked off. And I bet there are not too many people who can say that they have
stepped off a horse before. Am I ready to go again? You bet! Thank you, David Grant (Pee Dee Cowboy) for another life
experience I will always remember and take to my grave.
Seven at 66
-- Posted on Friday, February 19, 2010 by David Grant
When my friend, Lloyd Richardson calls, I am like E.F. Hutton: I listen!! He called on a cold and blustery Tuesday afternoon in
February and asked, "Dave, what do the hogs do on high water?" Me, I was thinking this is a trick question from Mr. Lloyd, who
had forgotten more about the outdoors, flora and founa that I will ever learn, so I said, "Not meaning to be a smart &%$, but
they usually swim to the highest hill!" "Well," he replied in his Southern gentlemanly way of speaking, "There're a bunch on my
hill!" It was on! I said, "I will be there in the morning." Then he said those magic words: "I want to ride a Marsh Tacky and hunt
with you." Mr. Lloyd is 66 years young and a lifelong outdoors man, so I was excited, but I have to admit, nervous about
him coming along. Thoughts bounced around in my head: What if the dogs have an off day, what if the horses act like "horses",
what if, what if!? Then I said to myself, "You are the Pee Dee Cowboy, shake it off!" I immediately got on the phone to my
cronies to see who could hunt. Couple of young guys said no, they had to work. Well, in my mind, I was thinking "Did they not
understand?" High water, great location and the Mr. Lloyd had personally called me. Geezh!! That's like John Wayne calling
and saying he wants you to be in one of his movies!! (Josh, when you and Dustin read this... well, all I can say is next time you
quit your job!!!)
Well, folks, this was truly going to be an old-timers hunt. The Pee Dee Cowboy on DP, Marion Broach on Toogoodoo, Dickie
Phillips on Mister and Mr. Lloyd on Sage. Folks, the Pee Dee Cowboy was the youngest in the group, and let's just say that this
ol' boy has seen many a rodeo! On to the hunt. We turned loose at 9:30 a.m., and with a prayer to say "Thanks", we turned out
our anxious Pee Dee curs, and I told our group, "Let's go at them from this side to try and keep the hogs from running out and
across a dirt road." Wrong!!! We hadn't been in the saddle 10 minutes, and I heard Bill open up. Then I couldn't believe it, a --
200-pound boar almost ran into the horses!! We were able to witness some great work by the dogs because they came right by
us. Did I mention those Marsh Tacky horses? They didn't even flinch. I think I heard DP murmur something to Bill as he ran
by: "Hey dude, catch him quick. I don't plan swimming the Big Pee Dee River to get your little butt back!" Bill must have heard
him because they ran that boar about 300 yards, and he, the boar, made the mistake of trying the open woods. Wrong! They
piled him up quickly. We all shouted those beloved words: Let's ride! We got to a really nice 200-pound boar, and before I
could even blink, Marion had put the blade to him so quick -- he looked like Zorro! (Did I say we were old? I don't think so!!) We
rode back to where we had struck the first hog, and BAM!! They struck another one, and once again, the hog almost ran into
us. This ol' boar was a good one -- 300 pounds flying by on the hoof. If someone ever tells you, "Yeah, that will happen when
pigs learn to fly", they ain't never seen a Pee Dee River boar run by them with a fine pack of Pee Dee curs on his tail!!! Well,
this ol' boy thought he was a rabbit. He tried to put the slip on us, but in a matter of minutes, they piled him up! So much for
my pack having a bad day. My hunting party went one way to the bay, but DP and I slipped right through a rabbit path and
rode up to the bay. Wow!! That ol' boar wasn't 300 pounds -- but more! And he was a Grizzly Adams look-a-like. I slipped off
DP in a way a cowboy would have been proud of and hollered, "Help!!! He's a good un!!!" While waiting on my help, I could see
them tusks just a shining!! We put him away and just sat back and said, "Wow! We have only been hunting for 20 minutes."
We, Marion and Dickie and myself would have quit right then. But then Mr. Lloyd said, "Let's ride. I will flank you and I will take
you to where the hogs are!" Duh? I looked at Marion and Dickie and said in my best Pee Dee Cowboy language, "Well where
the hell did we just come from?!" They said "shut up" politely and for me to get on my Tacky and ride and try if I could not talk!!!
Imagine that... the Pee Dee Cowboy not talking...
On to part Two of the hunt. We found Mr. Lloyd and followed him to the "hogs". Sure nuff, in about a 10-minute ride, we started
seeing signs again. We heard the dogs bark, then a squeal!! Dickie said, "That squeal is real." You know I think he would take
my spot if I would let him. I am supposed to be "man". Oh well, so much for job security. We rode hard up the bay, and I noticed
Mr. Lloyd going another way?? We rode on and the dogs had caught a very mad 275-pound-plus sow. We put her away, and I
leaped back on DP to "find" Mr. Lloyd. Well, find was the wrong word. He and Sage were going to another bay that we didn't
hear in the onslaught of typical chaos that happens during the ride to a multiple bay! Aparently Sage had heard the other bay,
and he knew the program: Go to the dogs! I think Mr. Lloyd thought Sage was being hard-headed and doing his thing, but he
was going to the dogs he heard. Whether you are a first time reader or a veteran tacky junkie, you have heard us say our
Tackies will go to where the dogs are barking. Just give them loose rein and they will go! The second hog was a nice almost
already cleaned sow of about 150 pounds. We looked around and the dogs were gone again!! This time, the old elusive hog
would win. We had the dogs on the GPS, but the hog got into deep water and swam and swam out into deeper water. I told our
group, "I know they probably drowned a couple of smaller hogs but the bigger ones got away. Oh well, can't catch them all." On
to the hunt. By this time, I was ready to leave some "seed" when Mr. Lloyd said, "There's still plenty left. Let's hunt!"
We were easing down a scenic high road, and I commented to the group that with all the high water, the road we were on
probably was traveled by Native Americans and then early colonial settlers. And no doubt by Francis Marion slipping back to
one of his infamous hideouts. Then Mr. Lloyd said he grew up hearing the stories and seeing the artifacts through the years.
Then way ahead, I saw something in the road. We kept easing along, and we decided what we saw was pork!! A couple of them
were porkamus maximus! I think the group wanted to ride hell bent for leather, but in my typical calm and cool manner (snicker),
I said, "Let's just ride toward them quietly." We finally eased up to the spot we saw them and poof! They were gone! I thought I
heard some dissension in the ranks, from the muffled "Umm! Uggh!" I heard. But true to form for the day, the dogs finally trailed
them up, and we had a bay!!! Did I mention the water was high? We started to the bay and zoom! Out of nowhere came a pig
flying by us! Correction: swimming by us! I hollered to Dickie to take the swimmer. Marion and I headed toward our bay. When
we got close, I said they're across the road. Talk about a road block. We got to a wall of briars. Did I mention we were in three
feet of water? I asked DP to push/swim through them. He didn't like the idea, but he did it anyway. We slipped through the
briars and caught a nice little roasting pig. Then we headed back to Dickie and Mr. Lloyd to get their pig, but when we got to
them, Dickie said, "We can't find the pig!" Not one to give up, I rode into the water/briars to investigate. Still no pig!
We searched some more. Still no pig. Almost giving up, I had one dog still in the water showing bayed, so Marion and I rode into
the water one more time. We could see movement in the water/briars about ten yards from us, so we pushed/swam the horses
toward the movement, which was one of my young dogs, Bambino, on top of the now drowned pig. Talk about proud! He was so
tired, he swam up to Marion and all he had to do was to reach out and slide him into the saddle. HIGH WATER HUNTING...
MAN, IT IS DIFFERENT!!!
Ok, almost through! We headed back to the truck. We thought. We heard a bark, and we were off to the races. I was thinking,
pig! Wrong. Porkamus maximus! Once we got through the "ocean", we had a whopping 350-pound barren sow. Pork chops!!!
One more problem, how to get her out... One big hog, one Marsh Tacky, one stout rope. We hooked the hog, and dallied the
rope around the saddle horn and here we went. It took DP a few tries to get it going, but once he did, we brought her out. I
really have noticed in the past year the strength DP has developped as he has matured. Just a little more folks. I told the group
Sassy was on another hog, but we couldn't hear anything. Long story short, she and Tuck had another big hog but couldn't get
it stopped. Sassy came back cut on the shoulder, one of the few times she has ever been cut. Man I felt so bad. I felt I let her
down. She had her job done, but I didn't cowboy up enough. That makes me even more determined to follow my hunches and
do my part. Savvy, grit -- tough words for a tough sport. A sport that will test a man's mettle and cull real quick -- inferior
equipment, dogs and horses. Until next time...
Oh, and for the title "Seven at 66": Seven for the hogs caught; 66 for the number of years Llloyd Richardson has graced his
family stomping grounds. Happy Birthday, Mr. Lloyd and Thanks for the memories.
Ekosan's First Hog Hunt under Saddle
-- Posted on Friday, January 29, 2010 by Wylie Bell
There's one thing you need to know about the Pee Dee Cowboy David Grant, when he says, "Let's meet at 8:15", he really
means 8 - if not sooner, 8:15 is when he's going to give up on you.
I didn't want to get left behind last Saturday, January 23, for my first hog hunt in several months, so I made sure I was ahead of
schedule. I pulled into the Dunlap property at the same time as David (and mentally patted myself on the back). I brought with
me Postel, one of CMTO's smaller gelings but who has the biggest heart of them all, and Ekosan, a 2-year-old filly who was
about to experience her first hog hunt under saddle with 14-year-old Hunter Rogers.
Also riding that day were Travis Anderson on Chicora, whose woods name is "Chuck"; Josh Collins on the ever-steady Sage;
Marion Broach on the big motor machine Toogoodoo; and Ricky Rogers on Blue, a Quarter Horse gelding who thinks he's a
Marsh Tacky. David rode point on CMTO's stud DP, who could probably lead the hunting group with or without David aboard.
DP knows his job when he hits the woods, and his focus never wavers, even with a young filly among the horses. After a prayer
for a good hunt, we headed into the woods, which were swollen with bogs and mudholes from the rain the previous week. Plenty
of hog tracks and rutting signs were etched in the mud.
The dogs got on some hogs almost immediately in a thick stand of pines and briars. David and DP blazed a path to the bay,
where those Pee Dee curs had a good handle on an about 80-pound boar who never stood a chance. Hunter was given the
honor of making the kill, which he did with much pride. He wanted some pictures to make sure "the kids at school" would believe
he'd killed his first boar with his "bare hands". (I guess in a 14-year-old's mind, a knife with a 10 1/2 inch blade counts as bare
hands, but I wasn't going to argue with him. Not when he was the one holding the knife.) With that hog dispatched and strung
up in a tree to be dragged out later, me moved on, with the feeling that this was going to be a good day. This is when Ricky and
I decided to add some acrobatic riding to the hunt. We came up on a big pine tree lying across the path, and I pushed
Postel forward knowing he could rabbit-hop right over it. Apparently, he thought he had to go over the moon too, because he
jumped sky high. I lost my seating in the saddle when he finally returned to Earth, and there I was hanging sideways off the
saddle. They make it look so easy in the movies, but once you start to go, it's usually over. And it was for me. But I had a nice
dismount, landing on my feet (and not on my head for once). Ricky, well, he wasn't as lucky. He got a little wet when a vine
swiped him right out of the saddle as we were racing down a waterlogged trail to bay number two. (Everyone else just trying to
kill some hogs, and here's Ricky stopping to go for a swim.) I will say, he kept it short, and was back on his horse in an eyeblink.
When the group caught up with the dogs, they had a nice size sow. DP did the work of pulling the sow out to the main trail,
which was now marked by hogs to drag back to the trailers.
We spent the next hour or so trying to round up the dogs, who were getting scattered by some young hogs running through a
cutdown of briars and brush. We were mostly concerned about finding Bill and Sassy, two of David's finest dogs, so we had no
choice but to go through this tangle of meanness (there's nothing nice about a briar slashing up your legs and hands). One of
these days, I'm going to invest in some chaps. We had to cross a ditch of water, which is where Ricky continued his acrobats off
of Blue's back, but I won't go into that. Let's just say that Ricky practiced his flying dismount once or twice (and he got pretty
good!) We had dogs baying in all directions. David said, "Someone take us to it", so Postel and I stepped up and pushed
through the briars to the dogs closest to us. Yep, Postel and I led the charge straight to a Winnie the Pooh-sized piglet. I was a
little disappointed, but Travis wasn't. His mouth watering when David picked up the little 10-pound big and said, "All it needs is
an apple in his mouth." Travis strapped that pig right to his saddle horn and rode with it bouncing off Chuck's shoulder for the
rest of the day.
David finally got a GPS reading on Bill and Sassy and saw they were making their way back to us, so we decided to hunt back
toward the trailers. The dogs struck again not far from where we got hog number two, and David and DP pounded their way
through the woods, jumping logs, dodging holes and kicking up mud. Postel and I were right on their heels, until DP got caught
up in some vines. David hollered for someone else to go for the bay, so I turned Postel toward the direction of the barking, and
let him go. Postel is a lit firecracker in a flat run, but he also has a sharp mind when it comes to winding his way through the
woods. We threaded in and out of the trees and vines at a gallop, with me barely touching the reins as he headed right to the
sound of the bay. Marion and Toogoodoo were right behind us, but Toogoodoo might have pulled up short if he knew he would
be pulling his fourth and final hog back to the truck. Hunter rode Ekosan right into the mix of dogs and hog and got to kill his
second boar (and surely not his last). Ekosan, who had never seen or smelled a hog before, stood quietly amid the chaos more
like an old mare than a young filly.
It was a lucrative hunt for all, as we pulled four hogs out of the woods, Chuck dragging one and carrying one with hardly a fuss.
Toogoodoo, on the other hand, doesn't really like having a big black hog dragging behind him, but Marion put him to work and
skillfully kept a lid on Toogoodoo's explosive energy. I can see the partnership between Marion and Toogoodoo is working
well. DP dragged the third hog, but David let Ekosan get a taste of the dirty work about 20 yards from the trailers. She dragged
that big ol' hog right down the road as if she'd done it a million times before. I'm not sure who was more proud - me, David or
Hunter! I packed up Postel and Ekosan, whom I had to pry out of Hunter's fingers, and headed for home, leaving the guys to
dress the hogs. (I'll hunt all day if it means I get to ride a horse. But I still prefer to get my pork from the grocery store.)
Simpson's First Hog Hunt under Saddle
-- Posted on Monday, January 18, 2010 by David Grant
The excitement level for men, horses and dogs was at a fever pitch level. The weather had been good for polar bears, but not
for Southern redneck hog hunters. Aah!! But today, sunny and mild, 60's. We were ready to go! "We" being the Pee Dee
Cowboy on DP, Marion Broach on Toogoodoo, Dustin Philips on first time hog hunter Simpson, Travis Anderson on Chicora
(aka "Chuck"), first time hog hunter Josh Collins on Sage, and Hunter Rogers on the one and only Tebow. All CMTO Marsh
Tackies. Dickie Philips was astride his faithful Appaloosa, Mister and Ricky Rogers on a very nice Quarter Horse, Blue. Last but
not least, a fine pack of Pee Dee curs.
After giving thanks to the Lord for the privilege we were about to partake in, we turned loose at 9:30 a.m. We worked our way
down a power right of way, "checking" for signs. The dogs got gamey and worked a cut-down good, but never struck. They all
came back except for Cowgirl, an up and coming Pee Dee cur dog. She was working out a track, and we lost her on the GPS,
so we worked our way toward the last location I had a reading on her. I told our group this was a young dog, and I wasn't
convinced she wasn't bumping a deer, but when I got her back on the GPS, she had worked a track unlike what a deer what do.
Having hunted this area many times, I worked our way toward what I knew would be her and an ol' hog's destination, a bad cut
down toward the river. Sure 'nuf!! she showed bayed, so I hollered, "Let's ride!!" Before we could get our Tackies in a lope, we
heard our dogs catch!!! That's the way it is. Sometimes there's nothing going on, then chaos!!
The dogs had caught a nice 200-pound sow. We rode hard down to the bay and decided to take her alive so we wouldn't have
to worry about the meat spoiling. This ol' gal wasn't real happy about being tied up, and she was giving us and the dogs our
money's worth. Squealing, barking, snorting, hollering, OH YEAH!!! A quick hit for an adrenaline junkie. Did I mention Cowgirl
was still bayed? We had to make a choice quickly, so we started dragging the sow to Marion and Toogoodoo. And man, you
should have seen that horse drag that sow over hill, over dale!! Once he had to jump a 6-foot wide ditch full of water, and when
he landed, horse, hog and all looked like a submarine.
Let me back up a minute. The Pee Dee Cowboy and Marion had been elected to go back and get the four-wheeler. Man we
had a great run. Ol' Toogoodoo is fast and outran DP, but I had a lot more horse power underneath me than I knew! DP must
have been dreaming of the races in Hilton Head.
Back to the hog. By the time we got back, Dustin had taken care of the hogs Cowgirl had bayed, plus a couple more. We
caught our breath, patted each other on the back and said, "Let's ride." One of the many advantages of hunting a large tract of
land along the Pee Dee River basin is that if you are "hog savvy", you can pretty much ride until you find a sign! So that's just
what our group did. We had to ride about 2 miles across some beautiful hardwood bottoms. It had just rained 3 inches the day
before, and the swamp water put our Tackies to the test. Sometimes bogging, sometimes swimming. But alas, all good times
must come to an end. We came to a road after checking out one hog "haunt" to no avail. I said, "Let's ride over to the next
cutover and take a lunch break in the sun and relax." Wrong!!!!
We all dismounted and started to relax and open up some hunting caviar when the Pee Dee cur pack got gamey. After a few
minutes, a few dogs came back. I said, "It must have been deer." Then I heard ol' Bill, and I checked the GPS. He was bayed
across the cutdown 500 yards !!! We jumped on our horses and tore out to the bay. As I raced to the action, I glanced back to
see Hunter and Tebow right on my heels. I will interject that Hunter is 14 years old and an up and coming hog hunter!! Who
knows, he may one day make Team Marsh Tacky!! As we turned the corner, I knew the spot, "ol' boar corner." We have caught
many a good boar before we got to him. The curs had him! Boaz, my best catch dog had him first. Little ol' Bill was in there
getting him some too! It was a nice boar, 400 pounds with good teeth!! A bad dude, he had roughed Boaz pretty badly with a
puncture wound to the chest and a blow to the ribs. Talk about courage. Boaz is fearless. I have considered retiring him, but he
pouts when I leave him at home. After doctoring Boaz and taking pictures we decided to call it a day. Dustin volunteered to stay
behind with Boaz to wait on the four-wheeler to make it easier for the old warrior. What a day!! Good friends, good dogs, good
Marsh Tacky horses.
A few thoughts and observations from the hunt:
1. Simpson's first hog hunt, you would have thought he was a veteran
2. Marion and Toogoodoo are making a heck of a team
3. Travis Anderson is hooked. I believe this is four for four
4. Josh Collins had an entertaining day to say the least
5. Tebow and Hunter: It is very humbling to watch a young horse and a young person cowboy up
6. Dustin and Dickie Philips are class acts, and I am fortunate to have them as hunting partners
7. Ricky Rogers is a great Dad. Good thing Blue can tote a load
In life, it is not how you start. It is how you finish.
Pee Dee Hog Race
-- Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2009 by David Grant
I just had that feeling this morning! The property owner, Mr. Lloyd Richardson told me that he had been seeing plenty of hog
signs, and the Big Pee Dee River was in a flood stage. When I hunt this area where the infamous Swamp Fox was reputed to
have had a camp, I just knew we would have a good day. "We" being the Pee Dee Cowboy on Postel, Ricky Rogers on Sage
and new Marsh Tacky owner Marion Broach on Toogoodoo. Also on the hunt were good friends Dustin and Dickie Philips,
father and son duo on Quarter Horses.
After a prayer giving thanks to such a beautiful day, we turned out our Pee Dee curs and headed into a Pee Dee River bottom
mixed with some delicious briar beds for good measure. After checking out a feeder, I noticed a couple of hog tracks in the mud
around the base just enough "sign" to steer me to my destination. Our curs were moving and really hunting, and I knew if an old
boar was in them briars, we should jump him. I eased our Tackies in and out the edge of the briar bed and all of a sudden ---
whoosh -- it sounded like a train getting the "blank" out of Dodge! We weren't quite sure if it was a hog or deer, but all of us,
almost in unison said, "Boar." We could smell him! Folks, a breeding age old boar has a smell that would make a skunk smell
like Chanel No. 5! Dustin and I both use Garmin GPS systems to keep track of our dogs, which on this hunt would prove to be
worth their weight in gold!
That ol' boar knew he had some heat on his backside, and he was "aheading" to the river! Words can't describe the next 10
minutes or so. We picked our way out of the briars to a loggin road, and that's when we turned the horses loose, and they were
ready to run! Folks, it can be tricky when you are the hunt master and everything is happening so fast! Talk about controlled
chaos! Galloping at break-neck speed, reading the GPS to find out where the dogs are, looking up to see a limb "just in time"!
Back to the hunt, we went about a mile and took a hard right. The GPS was starting to show the dogs within 400 yards. We
were moving so fast, we couldn't have heard the fight. I knew if they couldn't hold him at the edge of the swamp with the river at
flood stage, he might get out into the water and get away. We broke onto the river road and heard the fight. I put Postel right
into the briars, and he "jack rabbited" me right to the hog and dogs. I jumped off and grabbed the hog's back leg. And in a few
minutes we had a nice 225-pound-plus Pee Dee River bottom boar! Man, what a run!!
Folks, not to be redundant, but I want to emphasize on the amazing feat the horses and dogs did on that run!! Dogs running a
hog down from behind through briars and swamp, horses running through the woods, then diving headlong into a briar bed with
dogs fighting a hog, barking, squealing, hollering! Marsh Tacky Mania!!!!
Next, we moved over to a hardwood cutover and noticed a faint trail leading into it. Hog sign! We heard Bill open up a 100
yards and then it was on! For about 10 minutes, some 40-pound shoats about ran our curs to death. Most of the dogs came
out looking for water. I noticed Sassy, Bill and Tuck had moved 800 yards back to where we had just come from. We lost GPS
reception, so we rode over to check out what was going on. Sassy finally came back after losing a hog due to high water.
Bill and Tuck were in and out of reception. Finally, I told the group that I knew something was going on, and we needed to find
those two dogs. We rode in the direction of the GPS showing they had gone. I still could not figure out what was going on. I
knew they were on a hog and should have been hearing them!! Bill finally let out a muffled bark. Thinking back now on the
hunt, I believe the dogs were so tired, they were just standing and looking at the hog!!
When the other curs heard Bill, they went to him and the hog broke and ran. Some of the dogs gave up and came back, but
Bill, Esther and Tuck hung in there. We kept working our way toward them with the GPS showing they weren't bayed but moving
slowly which told me that we had what we call a moving bay. That's when the hog just walks along and the bay dogs just stay up
with him. I might add our dogs probably were wondering where their great owners are hiding!! We heard them stop and start
baying 800 yards out. We had to go around because of high water. We came to a beaver dam, and Postel showed me why I
admire him so much. He literally skipped across it! I later heard the four horses behind me swimming. Let me interject a few
comments I heard/saw later. "I went too far left!" "How did you do that?!" One horse with green slime all over it!! "We need to
build a bridge over that damn!" To that last comment I will add never lead, follow or swim!!!! I told the group to pull up and let
the catch dogs hear and engage the hog. We heard them catch. Someone said, "Are we getting off?" It was about 200 yards
across water and stumps. I said to give your Tackies their head, and they will go to the bay! And they did! When I got to
the fight, it was going on. I knew it was a big hog by the sound. I could see him about 30 yards in a briar thicket. Folks, I asked
Postel to take me in, and boy he did!! I rode right in on top of the fight, jumped down on top of the hog and grabbed a leg,
realizing he was too much hog for me alone! I started hollering for help. Dustin got in pretty quick and put him down after a
good bit of effort. Red 375-pound boar, good teeth at least 3 inches plus!! I knew I had to have some cut dogs after that fight.
Pecos and Esther had some pretty good puncture wounds but not life threatening. I will interject this note. Normally when we
catch a red boar, he usually has good tusks. I have no explanation, just an observation. It was only noon by this time, but we
called it a day.
Final thought of the hunt/day: It is truly humbling and a privilege to own and ride Marsh Tacky horses. It is no wonder they have
survived for all these years.
The Total Package
-- Posted on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 by David Grant
Sometimes when you saddle up for a hunt, you just have that feeling that it's going to be a good day. October 29th was one of
those days. This hunt was the total package: extreme riding and lots of action. The hunting party consisted of the Pee Dee
Cowboy, which is me of course, astride CMTO Marsh Tacky Sage and my Pee Dee curs; Phil "Start 'em Right" Hayes, who was
riding his 3-year-old Marsh Tacky Gator who hadn't been under saddle for very long; newcomer Travis Anderson on
Toogoodoo; and last but not least, Hunter Hoffmeyer on CMTO Marsh Tacky Postel, along with Hunter's fine pack of curs.
After a thankful prayer, we were off looking for hog signs. We didn't have to wait long. We found evidence of a feeding group of
hogs, but like ghosts, the signs disappeared. I told the group, "Let's go where they should be - not where they have been." We
picked up a good sign in a sorghum field, and the dogs got gamey and trailed off toward the Great Pee Dee River. We rode
through some pretty tight spots, but these four Tacky horses hardly broke stride. All of our horses know how to "bull" through a
thicket of underbrush and briars. Legend says they know how to "wear their feet", but I can attest they also know where not to
put their heads. Folks, if you could just witness how a Tacky can scoot, for lack of a better word, through the woods, you would
know how Gen. Francis Marion eluded the British.
Suddenly, we had a bay. I heard old Bill and Martha, and we were off to the races through the briars, over logs and everything
else. Hunter and Phil went straight to the bay, but Travis followed the Pee Dee Cowboy the long way around - just an excuse to
show him what Toogoodoo could do. Guess who got their first??!! Travis finished off his first Pee Dee River bottom boar, but I
would guess not his last. Phil wanted to drag the hog out with Gator. I said, "Are you sure? He's kinda green." Well, that fired up
ol' Phil. I just shook my head, and there they went dragging that 200-pound boar like a sack of potatoes. After getting
our "mess" back together, we were ready to do. Wrong! We thought we were, but stay with me, folks. Her comes one of the best
runs I have had in a long time.
Someone asked, "Where's Bill?" My Garmin GPS said Bill was bayed 800 yards toward the river. There was no good way to get
there except the Marsh Tacky way: down a steep slough that was slicker than eel skin from a recent rain. I tried and Sage
said, "Let me think about it." But not Phil and Gator. They started down the slough frontward and ended up spinning backward.
Now that it was clear to me and Travis had cowboyed up, back up the other side we went and we were moving out fast through
the bottom. Where was Hunter? We lost Hunter! The GPS showed Bill still bayed. The catch dogs hadn't heard him, so he was
on this hog alone. We were flying down a logging road (did I mention it was wet?). Each time we would stop, the dogs and
horses would slide 20 feet or more. Then I heard the dogs engage the hog. We left the road and into the bottom we went -
almost at a break-neck speed.
Oh yeah, we found Hunter. He came flying up behind us on Postel, mud just flying from under his hooves. I got to mention
Hunter a minute: He is a very good hog hunter but new to the horse end of it. But not for long. He is making a top hand. Back to
the run: We were getting close, and I smelled that ol' boar before I heard him. Suddenly out of nowhere, a deer almost ran into
Sage. But it happened so fast, we didn't break stride. The hog broke loose, and we heard a splash in the Big Pee Dee. There
went dogs and hog into the river. It usually makes for a bad day when they cross the river. But us cowboys started slinging
lead. What a sight! Hog swimming, dogs right behind. Chaos! I love it!
The hog made it up the other side. Ol' Zack, Tiger and Judd still after him. We heard them engage on the other side. Then the
hog jumped back into the river and was coming back. Down the river they went. We jumped back on the horses and went
storming down the river bank. I couldn't help but think how my man Francis Marion did the same type of thing at almost the
same spot, but he was fighting for his life, not "playing". Folks, stop and think... The courage of the men who fought for our
freedom and the horses that carried them - our beloved Marsh Tackies. This went on for about 10 minutes. Down the river the
dogs and hog drifted. Finally, the dogs won. They got him dispatched. Hell of a job by those Pee Dee curs. So here's the
problem: 200-pound plus boar in the river, 30-foot steep river bank. But no problem for four gritty hunters and one
unsuspecting horse: ol' Gator. Folks, you should have seen Phil maneuver Gator down and around to get to that hog, and
Hunter tied a rope to the hog. Folks, Gator pulled that hog up that steep bank. I admit he struggled, but he didn't quit. These
horses, our horses, the Marsh Tackies, have got heart, bottom, and they won't quit on you. Folks, I need to wrap it up, but we
enjoyed a good lunch on the banks of the big Pee Dee River. It was a good hunt, good friends, good dogs and four really good
Marsh Tacky horses - the total package.
Thoughts from the Saddle
-- Posted on Friday, September 4, 2009 by David Grant
Riding a CMTO trained Marsh Tacky is a humbling privilege that can only be described as awesome! On this particular hunting
trip, my good friend, Ricky Clark and I had decided to just get together for a quick hunt, just two good Marsh Tackies and a few
bay dogs. We wanted to ride and enjoy the moment. I decided to ride Sage, a 2004 model grulla gelding bred by the Ravenels
down in Charleston. Sage is an "anybody mount." I have killed deer off him for two seasons, and he has witnessed many an old
hog being bayed. I decided on a whim to ride him, mainly because he is so broke, we usually put novice riders on him. But
being a horse, he had picked up a few "what he wanted to do" habits: hesitating at ditches and briar beds (and heck, I don't
blame him). Ricky, as usual, wanted to ride the "glide ride" Toogoodoo, a 2005 model dun gelding that I bought from the
Ravenels. Toogoodoo has a big motor and is one of the better riding horses I have had the privilege to hunt off of. Ricky has a
lot of cowboy in him and likes to work a horse as he hunts.
We were hunting over in Ricky's neck of the woods where the swine, aka hoggumus fastamus, have Ph.D's in survival. We had
been chasing the local population more than catching them lately, so I decided to just use bay dogs to see what would happen.
A quick lesson here, folks. I mainly use running catch dogs: They wind, or strike a hog and run him down and attempt to hold
him until we catch him. But in this particular neck of the woods, the hogs have been hunted so hard that any slight indication of
something happening, they will show you speed that a NFL running back could only dream of having. So henceforth, on this
August Carolina morning, I used five small Pee Dee curs. Old Bill, Pepper, Bambino, Pee Dee and Georgia Girl. (Let me
interject this on the naming of any CMTO dog or horse. I have been accused of naming them out of a "bottle". That's just a
rumor. I will admit once in a while, I may get a little inspiration from said bottle!) We unloaded the dogs and horses in Rick's
backyard and rode off not expecting a lot, just with the attitude we were going to have some fun riding and watching some
young dogs get some experience. We rode for about an hour with no "swine sign." We started seeing a little sign here and
there and decided to make a loop and come up behind a corn field the "hoggumus fastamus" had been using. Finally, Bill got
gamey and hunted out about 200 yards. I told Rick he was on some hogs, but my Garmin GPS system showed him still moving.
We have learned through a lot of trial and error -- mostly error -- that Bill will be on a hog, but he won't show being bayed. He
will be circling the hog, and especially if it's a big hog, it will be walking to where it wants to go not paying much attention to Bill.
Today, that was what was happening. The other young dogs were still trying to figure it out. We finally tracked Bill to the corn
field. On the way, Ricky commented how Toogoodoo was so much more settled than last time he rode him. I told him point
riding did it. Folks, that is what I hope and pray I live long enough to do! Raise and train CMTO Marsh Tacky bred horses and
sell the ones most people would keep. We are slowly heading that way. We have five horses that I can ride point on in any
given hunt. (We have more coming; it takes time!!)
Anyway, back to the hunt. Bill was on hogs in the corn field. Finally, the young dogs heard him, and they lit a shuck through the
corn (a pun was intended). And we followed at a dead run! Man, this is what keeps me going back even after a "skunk" hunt.
Corn stalks flying by my ear, Sage jumping water holes, Ricky and Toogoodoo on my heels. We slid to a stop and heard the
big "hoggumus fastamus" grunting, or was it licking its lips ready for a Bill snack? Let me explain once again hog lingo. With a
running catch dog, our dogs must run him down, catch and hold. A big hog, obviously is hard to hold, especially in the summer
time when it's hot and our dogs just get a chance to catch their breath and it's off to the races again. Plus, most running catch
dogs are 60 pounds plus and intimidate the hog somewhat. But not Old Bill. He is 25 pounds soaking wet! So on "hoggumus
fastamus", we have started using bay dogs more. Back to Bill as a snack. All of a sudden, all the bay dogs were engaged. You
would have thought that old pig had a hold of all the dogs the way they were carrying on. We jumped off the horses to see
the "prize". Ooops!!!! This particular "hoggumus fastamus" almost runneth over us!!! What a sight: me and Rick and Sage and
Toogoodoo, big hog and five dogs saying, "Which way do we go?" Well, the hog went into a cutdown that we could get into, and
folks, we witnessed some really fine dog work. Those bay dogs had that hog convinced that they were in charge. We finally
dispatched the hog that turned out to be about 360 pounds. I told Rick let's take it back and clean it since it was so hot. I put a
lariat around old piggy and hooked him to Sage and here we went. It had been a good while since I had really used Sage on
point. I am usually teaching a young horse all the wonderful benefits of being a CMTO point horse. Sage and his mere 800
pounds took that 360-pound-plus hog through that cutdown like a tank. He got to a wall of vines and briars and hesitated, but
he knew the Pee Dee Cowboy was aboard, and he went right on through.
Ricky commented on how Sage has matured, and he has. Sage is a no-nonsense type of horse. He gets the job at hand done
and says, "What's next?" We were dragging the hog back to a good spot to pick him up later in the truck, which was about two
miles from Rick's house. We started back when the dogs got gamey again. I told Rick that a few must have slipped out during
the convention we were having back in that cutdown. The GPS showed Bill 800 yards away and moving. Then I lost him on the
screen. We decided to hunt in that direction, which was toward home. The GPS picked Bill back up. He was bayed 650 yards
out. We were in some pretty open woods with a narrow fire line through it, just about perfect for an all out ride. So away we
went! Sage knows the "deal", running with pricked ears, listening for the dogs. He was ready to "gitter er done". We had one
pine tree blown down about three feet high. These horses cleared it in stride. Water holes, mud puddles, we rode hard for
about five minutes. When we pulled the horses up hard, we did a pretty impressive sliding stop. (Where is the photographer?)
Then we heard Bill preaching that ol' hog sermon, and then the young dogs tuned in. We slowed down so we could
enjoy the "music". When we got to the bay, the hog had broke loose and run. Well, the young Pee Dee curs took charge and
shut him down. Rick and I eased into a pine plantation sprinkled with some briars for flavor. What we saw was four young dogs
on their haunches right in the face of a 300-pound boar. We enjoyed the moment for about five minutes and then tried to slip in
close enough to make a safe shot. That took some doing. Rick said, "Can you shimmy up a 3-foot pine sapling?" I told him I
didn't need to because I was faster than him. He didn't seem to appreciate that comment. We finished off this nice 300-pound
Pee Dee River bottom hog and headed to the house. It was a good morning: good friend, good dogs, very good horses and
priceless memories. Remember, it's not how you start in life; it's how you finish.
A Work in Progress
-- Posted on Friday, July 31, 2009 by David Grant
I can list many reasons why I enjoy hunting and riding from the back of a horse - but moreso if it's a CMTO bred Tacky, and if
I'm hunting with a CMTO bred Pee Dee cur dog. One of the many reasons for my enjoyment is watching a young horse or dog
develop and learn the job he (or she) has to do.
You have heard the old adage a work in progress. This is how I often describe a young horse or dog. For example, CMTO's
Toogoodoo is a work in progress. When I purchased him as a 2-year-old from Jen Ravenel in Charleston, I saw that I needed to
have him started by someone with a lot more savviness about a newly-under-the-saddle mount. After Toogoodoo spent two
months with a "professional" trainer, I picked him up and headed to the woods. On his first hunt, I realized that I had a great
riding horse with a great handle on him. He'll side pass and back up and has great ground manners. But he also has a big
motor. I am learning this to be a common thread among most of our horses: a big heart and a willingness to please.
Let me explain, or add rather, that a big motor plus a young horse on his first time out in the woods could be a recipe for an
interesting day on a hog hunting excursion. Most of the time, I ride point on a hunt, which means I get the honor of being the
first to bust up the briars, jump a ditch, cross or swim a slough, dodge snakes, etc. I would like to add that one of CMTO's goals
is to have only horses for sale that have been ridden point for at least one summer. But on with the story!
On this first day, I must say I was very tired from making Toogoodoo do all this for the first time. Since then, Toogoodoo has
been on 30-plus hunts, most of them being ridden by Ricky Clark, the infamous "Marlboro Man." If you want to appreciate what
it is like to ride a CMTO Tacky, just interview Ricky who has ridden many a horse, many a mile in his day, and he will tell
you "the deal" of a CMTO Marsh Tacky. I will say that Ricky helped me to finish out Toogoodoo, for as I will state in upcoming
sentences he is now a point horse.
On this particular hunt, it was me, David Grant, "the not so famous" Pee Dee Cowboy, on Toogoodoo. John Strickland,
the "stock car driver turned Cowboy from Aynor", on Sage and my recently retired "subsitute hunting partner", Dickie Phillips on
Wiser, his 16 hand Quarter Horse who handles a day in the woods very well. (Dickie has a horse named Bud too.) Go figure!
We were hunting on one of my favorite Pee Dee River bottoms. We had worked the area over pretty good with plenty of fresh
feeding signs but hadn't struck a hog. Let me take a minute and explain a little about our style of hog hunting. Because of my
work schedule, we may not turn loose until 10 a.m. By then, the elusive "pig" has long since retired to the most unpleasant
piece of real estate he can find, sometimes miles away from where we saw fresh signs. When people ask me, "All these signs
and no pigs? Where are they?", I reply in my always perfect English grammar and manners, "They are where they are!!! "
When you hunt in this manner, you need dogs that can work an area and try to wind a hog bedded down in a blowdown or
usually in the middle of a hell hole cutdown. It's a tough job! The batting average won't get you in the hog hunters hall of fame,
but it's worth it when it comes together: dogs baying, horses running flat out, jumping, swimming, sliding -- whatever the moment
brings to the bay. And it could be a good old bad one with a good fight taking place -- that will get your blood pumping.
Back to this hunt. I decided to work my way down the river to where I anticipated these particular pigs were bedded down. I
didn't tell my partners, and I usually don't, but I had a little extreme riding planned. Toogoodoo was doing really well. Vines had
him several times, and he waited for me to cut them to free him. Something I expect from all my mounts that are to be a point
horse: When caught up in a vine, wait on me to cut you free. They will come to realize you will help them, and they will wait. It is
a great feeling when a horse naturally does something like this, and on this hunt, Toogoodoo started doing it, where in the
past, he would try to kick and twist his way out himself. But it finally clicked on him, "Hey, this guy is my partner!" I didn't say
anything to the guys when they said there was a deep ravine ahead. I just disappeared down it on Toogoodoo. He went down it
on his hindquarters. What a feeling to have a horse slide down a hill! Then came John with a wild look in his eye on Sage, but
they made it. What a sight to see Sage come down that ravine sliding like a reigning horse. Then old Wiser with Dickie came
right on down. Dickie did comment he could have used several "Buds", before he lifted off! Then I heard a bay over here, and
over there. There were bays coming from everywhere, but where were we? The dogs caught when I took off down the ravine.
Toogoodoo slipped sideways in the slick mud from the river flooding. I pulled my left leg out and sat on top of him for the ride
down. It wasn't planned, but it worked and we started for the bay. I noticed Toogoodoo moving with a purpose, a sense of
urgency if you may. Not just nervous big motor energy, but he was going to the bay. His ears were pricked forward, fighting with
me to get there to finish the deal. The deal is what I call my pact with my Pee Dee curs. If they have the grit to hunt all day, fight
everything a Pee Dee River bottom can throw at them, run a hog through hell and back, and fight to the death if need be, I will
do whatever it takes to get to them. I have lost several friends over it and made some people mad over my harshness in action,
in "getting the deal done". Anyway, the bay was in some vines, and we clawed our way to the dogs and caught one nice sow,
but before we could relax, the dogs had another one, this time down a logging road. We rode down to them as fast as we could,
sliding to a stop. I jumped off to a good bay and a fight with another nice Pee Dee River bottom hog. After it was over, I realized
that I had ridden Toogoodoo within inches of the bay and jumped off without tying him up. No matter. He was eating grass with
that "I've done my part" look in his eye. Another part in his eye said, "Let's go home!"
I told my buddies, "Let's hunt back to the truck." That is an inside joke for my circle of hunting partners, because too many
times we have hunted all day with no luck and I almost gave up, and then when I say "Let's hunt back to the truck", we have on
numerous occasions caught hogs on the way back. And often in places where we had already been that day. On this hunt, we
were within a half mile of the trailer when the dogs got gamey. Then we heard a bark, then a bay, then a squeal. The way was
thick with briars and vines, but we went in. I was tired, so I told Toogoodoo we were going all the way in. This means briars, a
couple of ditches, then the last 40 yards all briars. He hesitated, but then I put the pressure on him and right on through we
went! He jumped, reared and kicked his way into a bad hole and ended up right on top of the bay. Then here come come
Dickie and John. It was a full house. Old Toogoodoo just moved over and made room. It was a pretty good fight and
Toogoodoo just took it with a different look this time. This one said, "I know we are through."
It was a good hunt, great extreme riding, another step in the work-in-progress project. We headed home, and I had that feeling
that I am privileged to have had a job well done by my CMTO Tackies and Pee Dee curs. And I cherish their efforts. Until next
time, in the words of Roy and Dale, "Happy trails to you."
Team Marsh Tacky Hunt
-- Posted on Friday, June 19, 2009 by Wylie Bell
There were so many horses, dogs, four-wheelers and trucks in the woods last Saturday, June 13, we should have known we
had no chance of sneaking up on any hogs. The morning hunt on Col. Kolb plantation in Society Hill ended around noon
without a hog... but a good meal of chicken wings.
As always, David kept the ride exciting by taking us through some rough areas. We had to cross a slough that looked more like
the Grand Canyon, and then penetrate a wall of briars that even rabbits would choose to go around. Joining Carolina Marsh
Tacky Outdoors for the hunt was Sidney Hawkins from the Upstate, an expert on Colonial Spanish horses, and Jimmy Maner,
another horse owner from the Upstate. Brian Stanton, David's longtime friend and fellow hog hunter, came up from Charleston
for the ride. This was Brian's first hog hunt in a long time, but he could remember the times when he and David would wake up
at 2:30 in the morning to get geared up and into the woods. Brian also doesn't seem to be afraid to face a hog without the aid
of any dogs, and you almost need to put a leash on him to keep him from disappearing into the thickets on a solo mission.
There were also three riders, Tom and Bo Stafford and Marion Broach, "testing" out their Quarter Horses in the swamp. Tom's
dun mare, Honeybunch, actually has been on several hunts now, and Tom says it's helped knock the edge off her. As for the
Marsh Tackies, David paired Sage, a push-button gelding, with Sidney, and Holly, the tough little filly, with Jimmy. Brian rode
Postel, the 4-year-old gelding I always ride. On this hunt, I was riding Toogoodoo for the first time. Toogoodoo, a 4-year-old
gelding, is the kind of horse you want to be on if you got a long way to go, and you want to get there fast. He's got a very
comfortable gait and a nice, easy lope. He's like riding a rocking horse on ice: You just glide along.
Unfortunately, Toogoodoo and I were "gliding" along in the wrong direction at one point, and I accidentally led our guests on the
hunt astray. We doubled back to find David and the rest of the group that we thought was "right behind us." It was a good
lesson on how quickly those woods can swallow you up and leave you disoriented. It was also a good lesson on how a woman
will always lead you into trouble, because David was not real thrilled to lose half of his hunting party.
But on to that deep slough we crossed. It proved not to be a problem for any of the horses. We had eight horses crammed on
the lip of the ditch trying to figure out how we were going to get through to the woods on the other side. For David, the answer
was easy: Go through it. David said he didn't like to do it, but he asked DP to be his battering ram. Marsh Tackies have a
unique technique to dealing with thick briars and brush. They will rear up and come down on top of them, crushing them
underfoot. However, neither DP nor Postel was interested in going through this particular briar patch. David said he didn't
blame them. So he and Brian made a path using a similar technique to "push" their way through the thicket by lying down on
top of them and flattening them to the ground. After about 20 yards, they finally reached the woods, and we came through with
But there were no hogs in that stand of trees or any other spots we poked around in. We did have a tense moment on the hunt
when Sage got tangled up in a vine and fell over on Sid. Sid scrambled out from under him and avoided flying hooves as Sage
kicked his way out of the vines, breaking the saddle girth in the process. Luckily, Sid wasn't hurt. In fact, I think all of us who
witnessed it were more shook up than he was. The more hunts I go on, the more I realize anything can happen at any moment.
While I trust these Marsh Tackies wholeheartedly, you still have to remember that there's always the risk of getting hurt. I guess
that's all part of the hunting experience: the dangers, the thrills and yes, sometimes, the disappointments.
After the Rain
-- Posted on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 by Wylie Bell
"It's not how you begin, but how you finish," David said after a long morning poking through every thicket, every briar bed,
every mud bog as our hunting group tried to flush out some hogs on an old working plantation in the Great Pee Dee River
basin. The grand finale was a clean kill of a nice size sow, about 150 pounds or more, according to Ricky Clark, whose
horseshoe mustache and ever present Marlboro cigarette makes you wonder where the Western saloon is he just stepped out
of. Ricky also carries the most weapons strapped to his saddle. I take this as a sign not to dispute what he says.
Bonnie and Richard Steele from Chester, S.C., were guests on this May 30 hunt that David offered to sponsor for the South
Carolina Horseman's Council. Bonnie said she'd heard a lot about the Marsh Tacky horses and was eager for a test ride.
(She's a stay-at-home mom of eight children, so she was also just looking for a reason to get away. The black water swamps of
the Pee Dee is about as far away from home as you can get without a passport.)
Bonnie rode Holly, a 4-year-old dun mare and winner of the inaugural Marsh Tacky horse race in Hilton Head Island. It didn't
take Bonnie long to fall in love with Holly's dainty trot and tough-as-oak attitude. Richard rode Sage, who is a steadfast 4-year-
old grulla gelding. When Sage got tangled in some briars, David and I were quick to advise Richard that the horse knows
best. "He'll get himself out. Just let him do it." Sage, like all CMTO Marsh Tackies, is woods smart. These horses know how to
avoid holes, kick through briars and wade through chest - deep - and deeper - sloughs and bogs. And there were plenty of
sloughs on this day from all the rain. Unfortunately, that meant all the hogs that David had seen signs of earlier in the week had
moved to higher ground. We weren't having much luck, plus a couple of young dogs on the hunt thought we were hunting deer.
They flushed a doe, who leaped 15 feet in the air out of a thicket and nearly took up a seat in the saddle with David. We lost all
of our dogs for about 20 minutes as they chased after the wrong quarry, much to David's disgust. Using what few dogs stayed
behind, we moved on to another area hogs like to bed down in. David plowed through the thick underbrush on his 4-year-old
stallion, DP, the workhorse of the group, who acted as if it was a mere field of daisies. As long as you follow David and DP,
there's always a nice, clear path through the woods. Not that any of the Marsh Tackies need a clear path. Their tough hides
protect them from the thorns and constant swirl of biting flies, while the unlucky Quarter Horse in our hunting party was bleeding
head to tail from minor cuts, scratches and bites.
Just when it seemed we were going to have to go to the market to get our pork, the dogs bayed some hogs in a wooded area
bordering on a small clearing planted with wheat. One hog finally broke from the thicket and took off through the woods with all
those "deer" dogs David had been chastising close behind. This is the part of the hunt that happens too fast. All morning, the
hours drag on as you search for cloven hoof prints or signs of rutting in the black mud, reading the GPS to see if any dogs
are "sitting down", listening for a yelp off in the distance. But once the pursuit begins, time speeds up as split-second decisions
are being made: dodge this tree, duck under this branch, jump this log, go around the vines, watch that hole, protect your face.
When you finally reach the bayed hog, you realize you haven't made any decisions at all, and you wonder how you got there.
Standing quietly under you, surrounded by the cacophony of men shouting, dogs barking and a hog squealing is your answer:
your horse. He appears to be at peace in this harsh environment, a moment's respite on the job. As a guest on the hunt,
Richard was allowed the honors of bringing the hunt to a close with a knife borrowed from David. Bonnie declined to take part in
the kill. Like me, she found her reward in the riding and the horses. When we took a break for lunch, she suggested we make
the horses more comfortable by loosening their saddle girths, because "Holly's worked so hard for me today. What an amazing
little girl." I always think the same thing about Postel, a 4-year-old gelding I ride. Today, I had really needed him because my
stirrup broke during the pursuit, and I lost all focus other than staying in the saddle. Any other horse probably would have run
me into a tree. David and Ricky, who had brought the "blasted" deer dogs, mended their friendship on the ride back to the
Of course, David had to get one last jab in when it was his horse, DP, who had to do all the work and drag the sow out of the
woods. Ricky had volunteered his horse, Toogoodoo for the job, but the spirited young gelding reared when the hog got lodged
in some logs. Ricky doesn't look and act like a cowboy for no reason. Toogoodoo nearly came crashing over backwards on
Ricky as he clung to his seat in the saddle, but the horse slipped in the mud and came crashing down on his belly instead.
Ricky rode it out and then shook another cigarette from his pack with steady hands. "Toogoodoo doesn't want to have anything
to do with a pig," he said.
Ricky and David dressed the hog back at the trucks using a pulley system David has rigged to his horse trailer. Everyone went
home with some meat and good advice on how to cook it from a band of hunters turned gourmet chefs. Bonnie and Richard
were given all the meat they could pack in a cooler. They tried to give me more, but I said, "I don't have eight kids to feed!"
Besides the meat, Bonnie and Richard went home with an appreciation for a breed of horse that has nearly been lost to
extinction by today's modern standards of bigger, faster and sleeker. These qualities are useless when it comes down to what
you really want in a horse: a trustworthy companion when the way isn't always clear.
Into the Deep
-- Posted on Friday, May 8, 2009 by Wylie Bell
David invited me and Leighton to our second hog hunt down by the Pee Dee River in Society Hill this week. Knowing a little bit
more about what to expect, we briar-proofed ourselves with long-sleeved shirts despite the heat and humidity the weatherman
had promised. Summer doesn't drag her heels arriving early in the Pee Dee, and neither do all the bugs, so the talk among the
hunting party was how the "skeeters are going to carry us away" if we don't cover up any bare skin. Other than that, little time
was wasted on small talk. Horses were unloaded and saddled. Dogs were released. Bags were packed with water and snacks.
Weapons were checked, and a prayer for a good hunt was said.
There were nine of us on horses, five riding Marsh Tackies; the rest on various Quarter Horses. Our escort for the hunt, a guy
who goes by the savory nickname "Hotdog", rode a four-wheeler with a giant steel cage on back for any hogs taken home
for "fattening up." David brought his 4-year-old Marsh Tacky gelding, Postel, for me to ride and his 4-year-old stud, DP, for
Leighton. We were a little concerned how DP might act because one of the mares in the group was in heat. But DP was a
perfect gentleman all day. Leighton, who has been riding for about a year now, said it was nice to finally be on a horse and
there be "no drama." That's not something most people would say sitting on a young stallion. Next to those big Quarter Horses,
the Marsh Tackies look like ponies, but when we start moving through the thick underbrush and slick mud, the Tackies become
the Thoroughbreds of the swamp. David is always looking for ways to make the hunt more exciting, challenging the horses to
climb steep embarkments and cross gullies full of water.
On a hunt the previous week, David said DP pushed through a wall of briars by rearing up and coming down on top of them
with his front feet until he broke through the thicket. The riding on this hunt had been pretty tame until David and I peeled away
from the group to ride down a pipeline that was flooded with water. "Hotdog" had warned us that the water was too deep to
cross, but he was sitting on a four-wheeler, not a Marsh Tacky! I led the way into the pool of water with Postel, who is a very
willing, confident little horse. On the previous hog hunt, I'd ridden Postel and knew he would not fear the water, so he plunged
right in. The ground disappeard immediately, and all I could see was Postel's head bobbing in front of me. I let him find his
footing among the submerged logs and roots and whatever else was below the surface of the black water. As Postel was pulling
himself out of the pool to higher ground, David came crashing into the water on Toogoodoo. Toogoodoo's momentum sent the
horse completely under the water, head to tail. He came up with a bewildered look but in true Marsh Tacky manner, the horse
didn't panic. We pushed forward until we were out of the water and rode on. David said, "Hey, if we're not finding any hogs, we
might as well do some extreme riding." I agreed, but I was pretty sure there were a couple tadpoles swimming around inside my
We eventually met up with the rest of the riders, and we backtracked down the flooded pipeline again. It was amazing watching
each horse plunge into the water and paw its way out carrying its heavy load of rider and gear. David and I agreed it was a
missed photo opportunity to show the skill of both horse and rider. Hog tracks and rutting signs were everywhere that day, but
after hours of riding and poking through every patch of woods and mudhole, we weren't having any luck. Even the dogs
seemed to be giving up as they gravitated out of the woods and swirled around the feet of the horses as we discussed possible
areas we missed.
David is a determined hunter and had one more area he wanted to check, but Leighton and I had to leave. We wished them all
luck as we headed back to the horse trailers. David called us later that night to let us know we had missed out. Not only did they
kill a hog after we'd left, but a rattlesnake too.
First Hog Hunt for the Bells
-- Posted on Monday, April 13, 2009 by Wylie Bell - for the April 14 issue of The Link, Chesterfield County's weekly
Leighton and I were recently invited to go hog hunting along the Pee Dee River in Society Hill with David Grant. I met David
doing a story for that other publication that I write for. David is from Florence, which makes him "big city" to most of you folks in
Chesterfield County, but the only thing "city" about David is his wife. (I thought I was marrying "city" too, when Leighton said he
was from Buford. I thought he meant Beaufort. Boy, did I get that wrong.) David's buddies call him the "Pee Dee Cowboy",
because he hunts on horseback. He also hunts with his bare hands and a knife, which makes me think "Pee Dee Indian" would
be a better nickname.
Leighton and I showed up for the hunt about 30 minutes behind schedule. Leighton operates on LLA time (Late Like Always),
but you don't keep a group of men who are heavily armed with guns and knives waiting. Leighton is used to getting by on his
baby blues and dimples, but I quickly saddled up our horses and pretended that we too were armed and dangerous. Which we
were... to an extent. I told Leighton he could bring his pistol on the hunt - not that I thought his little handgun would bring down
a 200-pound hog but in case we ran up on any tin cans and he wanted to have a shootout with Campbell's Soup or Jolly Green
Giant. He has yet to meet his match in the canned goods department. Plus, Leighton has a tendency for suddenly vacating his
saddle while horseback riding, so I didn't want him on the ground squaring off with Porky Pig's meaner cousin without some sort
of protection. (I've been telling him the bacon he eats is going to come back and haunt him some day, but I didn't want it to be
Leighton and I are not hunters, especially Leighton. He can't even catch a dust bunny. In fact, they seem to multiply around his
parts of the house. The reason we teamed up with this band of hog hunters was for the horseback riding. The horses we were
riding were Marsh Tackies, a rare breed native to the Lowcountry and known for being surefooted and swamp savvy. These
horses have a history with South Carolina that dates back to the original Spanish settlers. It is also believed that during the
American Revolution, Marsh Tackies were ridden by many of the troops of Gen. Francis Marion to battle the British. Leighton
was not as impressed as I was by this information. "The British?" he said. "I don't remember playing that team when I went to
Francis Marion." I told him not to worry about the Redcoats. Just keep his redneck in the saddle and out of the line of fire.
When we set out into the swamp, I asked David what kind of gun they used to bring down a hog. I started looking around for the
bazookas, but I didn't see any. "We don't shoot 'em," he said. "We stab 'em." "Oh," I said casually , as if we were about to hunt
down a pinata. But inwardly, I was thinking about the warning my daddy used to give me when I'd go duck hunting with him in
the swamp. "Always keep a tree that you can climb to your back," he'd say, "because if you hear a boar hog coming through
the swamp, you'd better get up that tree quick!" I patted my horse, Postel, for comfort. At least he knew what he was doing. I
looked back at Leighton, who was also making friends with his horse Holly, a young filly. She seemed to take to him pretty well,
as all women do. She must have seen his dimples.
It wasn't long before I forgot about the boars and focused more on the briars that were trying to make us look like victims of a
bad slasher movie. The horses didn't seem to notice them as they plowed through the undergrowth, so it was up to you not to
get peeled off by low hanging limbs and vines. I imagine not too much has changed in the swamplands along the Pee Dee River
in the past couple hundred years. Maybe we would run up on a Redcoat. Would we shoot 'em or stab 'em? I hoped neither, but
the boar hog the dogs tracked down that day wasn't as lucky. Despite all my daddy's warnings, there I was running through the
briars and brush, heading toward the the ear-piercing squeals of a hog - and not away from it, I did take note of all the
climbable trees along the way. Of course, Leighton and I got to the hog a few minutes after the kill had been made. But hey,
sometimes it's safer to operate on LLA time.
Postel Comes of Age
-- Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 by David Grant
This story is about Postel, a 3-year-old Marsh Tacky gelding owned by Carolina Marsh Tacky Outdoors. Postel was one of the
first horses bought by David Grant. Postel was bred by the late Arnold Postel of Ravenel, S.C. from the sire Dapper Dan, a
grulla Marsh Tacky stud and out of Sandy, a dun Marsh Tacky mare, reportedly one of Mr. Postel's favorite mares. Arnold has
passed away leaving a good sized herd behind. Through a family friend, Mr. Ed Ravenel, another Marsh Tacky breeder, we
learned of the sale of the Postel herd. We went down and purchased five horses from both, Beth's and Ed's herds. Little did we
know what that infamous trip to Ravenel in the fall of 2006 would begin!
Postel was always undersized but full of himself. If there was trouble to get into, he would usually be at the root of it by opening
gates, jumping fences, and anything a yearling can do to cause problems. He was curious about everything and loved people.
We just let him grow up.
We had thoughs of keeping Postel a stud, as recommended by Jeannette Beranger of the ALBC, because he represented a
different line of Marsh Tackies from the rest of our herd. But ultimately Postel's "full of himself" nature as a yearling carried over
to more than a "full of himself" young stud. We had to make the very, very tough decision to geld him.
When we started training Postel as a 2-year-old, he was different in a good sort of way. He was easy to start with no buck but
his way of resisting moving forward was an "odd" move... a lift and spin in the opposite direction reminiscent of the behavior
bred into his Spanish ancestors, a war maneuver from hundreds of years ago. In this move, a horse would lift up and spin in an
opposite direction without hardly taking up any space. (Very handy when you were in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy.) It
also served to help the rider throw a spear or lance with more velocity.
As we rode Postel, he was very gentle but it took a good rider to appreciate and get the most out of him. We were encouraged
because each time out, he taught us something about what makes a Marsh Tacky so special - namely heart. He could take
anything we put him through and still after six hours of hard riding he could still keep going. On an average hog hunt we will ride
six to eight hours at a pretty steady walk, with at times some breathtaking all out runs to get to the dogs when they bay up a
hog (which is most always in the biggest roughest place around!!!) One time we caught a nice boar in the river and jumped off
the horses into the water and onto the hog... that will be another story.... let's finish Postel's.
Postel has learned to run to the dogs, almost all on his own. He will navigate through rough terrain like an open highway and
can drag half his weight along for the ride. He will follow his rider without leading and has learned to rise up and come down on
briars to keep them out of his face. But to top it off, just the other day he showed me the Marsh Tacky move of the legend! We
were crossing a creek we shouldn't have been, but the dogs were bayed up on the other side with a particularly bad hog. The
water was deep and cold, but here we went. We got almost through and then oh man!... What all horses hate... Bog! Postel
went totally submerged and came up stuck. I had to come off him. He laid there a minute and then he did it. He laid back down,
pulled his feet up and rolled out of the bog! It was hell on the saddle but an awesome move. It goes to prove that the old hog
hunting proverb: It's not how you start, it's how you finish.