Massive mud encrusted hairy shoulders tapered down to sleek black hips.  The thick bristles along his back stood up, as his malevolent beady eyes took in the scenery below the secret spot from where he had just emerged.  Feeling fully refreshed from his daytime siesta, it was time now to get that first long awaited drink before once again starting the random rooting and ploughing up of the hillside.  There were still many treasures to be dug here yet, bulbs and tubers, plus plenty of fat worms and grubs.  Maybe another ewe would give birth close by, then he would be able to take another succulent lamb from the defenceless mother.  He could feel the strength flowing through his massive body, as once again he descended slowly to the small soak in a dark gully on the hillside. 

     Arriving at the soak he drank first, as unlike many would think, he was basically a clean beast.  After his thirst was quenched, he would then roll and coat his rough bristled body with more mud to ward off the night time biting insects.  Even though his body seemed as hard as nails, his skin was actually very sensitive to biting and annoying insects.  While lumbering slowly back across the hillside to his chosen spot, the old boar rubbed the excess mud from his now dripping wet body onto the rough bark of a small tree.  Another small tree nearby was then slashed with his razor sharp tusks.  This would serve as a warning to any other boars in the area.  They would be able to see how tall their adversary was and how sharp his tusks were, making them think twice about challenging him for the favours of a few sows that also lived in these rough hills.  He sure felt good to be alive as his tough snout dug up the soft earth like a small plough.  Slowly the sun sank those last few inches below the horizon, turning the hillside into a ruddy tapestry of colour.  He was out early tonight, as it was a long time since the dreaded man things had hunted him.

     Suddenly, a slight zephyr of wind brought to his nostrils the scents of other pigs.  Standing as still as a statue the great boar watched intently as a small mob of sows and suckers, followed closely by another boar, came out from the bushes below him.  These other pigs had not seen or winded him and so ambled slowly on towards where he now stood waiting with the bristles of his mane standing up a full four inches above his back.  He was a fearful sight.  Slowly the younger boar crossed the invisible line that meant his personal space was now being threatened.  With a guttural grunt, 120 kilos of black bristled fury took off like a guided missile and smashed broadside into the smaller boars shoulder.  The smaller boar gave an almighty squeal, as he felt the sharp slice of long white tusks ripping through his shoulder pad and on into the soft flesh behind.  Discretion was definitely better than valour must have been in his mind as the young boar took off into the thick bush.  His time would come, it might be a year or two yet but he was growing larger and stronger each year now.  He could wait.
     The great boar stood there, savouring jaws chomping as his beady eyes followed the flight of his adversaryís crashing rush through the thick brush until he disappeared, then slowly he sidled up to one of the sows.  Chasing her around the hill he quickly mounted and serviced her then went back to his task of ripping up the earth.  It was now very dark, but this didnít worry the boar any, as his eyes were accustomed to foraging at night.  Suddenly his tail lifted straight into the air and up came his nose.  There was a strange smell in the air, and then came a small sound that gradually became louder.  The sound was that of a diesel motor purring quietly up the side of the hill.  Abruptly a blaze of light illuminated the hillside and everything on it, only the boar was already gone.  The faint scent of the diesel drifting in the air currents up the hill and the slight sound of the motor had forewarned him.  There was a crashing blast of sound that hurt the great boarís ears as he drifted into the shadows.  He was too smart to run, as the others in the mob did.  He just laid down under the dark shielding boughs of a thick mountain bush, watching the flashes of light and listening to the crashing blasts of noise that echoed up and down the hills.  Then most of the noise subsided, all he could hear were smaller sounds.  It was the farmer and his hunting mate lamenting that they had once again missed getting the somewhat infamous, lamb killing, monster mountain boar.  The boar quietly left the area, heading deeper into the safety of the bush; he would not eat any more tonight.  His appetite was well and truly gone, as he could smell the blood of his latest mistress mingling in the air with an unusual acrid smell that was gunpowder.
     Deeper and deeper into the bush he went.  Circling around the side of the hill, the great boar headed back to his lay.  It was in a great spot, where a once giant blue gum had fallen across a gully.  There was a nice safe shady spot under the base of the giant trunk.  There was also a small gully close by, where if need be he could escape unseen from anything coming up the gully.  It was a long hungry night and even though the morning sun shone up the gully heating up the earth and his stomach rumbled, still he didnít move.  Pretty soon it was getting hot, he needed a drink. Water was his life-blood and without drinking at least twice a day he would surely dry out and die.  It was time to sneak back to his favourite soak, have a drink and allow himself the privilege of a small wallow before going back to his safe place.  He had to go the long way around as he needed to defecate and there was no way he would do that near his lay or drinking spot.  Finally having had his drink and a wallow in the cool mud, he once again rubbed on that same tree and sharpened his tusks before heading back to his lay.
     This old boar was a cunning brute.  He wasnít going to be caught out this night by those man things with the crashing noises and bright lights, so he waited another full three hours after dark before venturing to his watering spot.  Stealthily meandering his way to his favourite diggings he came upon the body of his latest conquest.  He smelt the strong scent of blood and decay as he moved slowly up the hill.  Soon he was back at his task of ripping up the hillside, gradually working his way down to where the sow lay.  Another couple of sows turned up with a younger boar.  This young boar was not a threat to him, as he was too young.  They too came upon the now decaying sow.  After a night and a hot day, she was certainly starting to smell good to the hungry pigs.  The young boar took an experimental bite at the now oozing bullet wound and found the taste to his liking.  Soon the sows joined him, tearing and ripping into the sow.  The smell of the feast was too much for the big boar, so he too joined in on the feasting.  Cannibalism of their late friend did not worry these swine.  By nights end there was very little left of the unlucky sow.

     The following day, the hunters came upon the remains of the sow.  There was very little left but the smell.  These were not noisy like the farmer in the diesel on the previous night.  These were two young inexperienced hunters who had heard about this monstrous mountain boar and decided that they would try for him.   They decided on a plan for the following morning, they would be waiting at daylight near the well-worn pad left by the enormous boar. 

     As the shadows grew longer, the boar stirred in his bed.  Squinting toward the dropping sun, he knew that he still had a few hours to rest before starting his now fairly routine pattern.  The only thing he changed was the actual time he started from his lair.  The boar emerged from his lay, working his way to his watering spot.  His thirst quenched, he once again rolled in his favourite wallow before heading past the remains of the sow to the place where he very nearly had a sweet tuber dug out the previous night.  It only took a few swift digs with his leathery snout to unearth the delicacy.  Gobbling it up, he moved on, turning over a large log.  A small snake tried unsuccessfully to bite the boar before it too was chomped up and swallowed.  A few small grubs followed the snake into the boarís stomach.  Snakes were one of the boarís favourites their fangs and potent poison were of little effect to the boar, as they couldnít penetrate deep enough to hurt him.  Most times he was much too fast to get bitten anyway.  As the first bit of colour showed in the morning sky, the boar decided to dig up that one last yam; he could smell it and had to have it.  Over the years he had been very cunning and many tales had been told about him.  His large black frame was criss-crossed with scars from numerous encounters with other boars and one of his ears was missing from a battle with a large dog.  He had sent that dog; to dog heaven and tales were still told of the heroic dogís death.  It would take more than one dog to hold this massive lump of pork.  There was a large lump on his thigh where a bullet had lodged many years ago, a hard lump had formed around the projectile and the old boar had never had any bad effect from it.  He was tough all right, but he was also getting old, as over the years he would never have stayed out until it got light.  He should have been back at his lay now, drifting to sleep dreaming of fat sows and sweet yams.

    
The first sign of trouble was a large black and white English Pointer cross that came sprinting from beside his well-worn trail.
A smaller dog of uncertain heritage followed closely behind.  Turning to run, the old boar wasnít fast enough and as he turned to make a stand, the large dog hit him like a guided missile.  Tenaciously latching onto his good ear, the large dog held fast while the smaller dog grabbed the end of his snout.  The massive boar shook his monstrous head, vainly trying to shake the dogs free.  His gleaming tusks slashed and parried at the dogs trying for a telling rip.  The dog hanging off his nose was making him squeal, he hadnít squealed like that since he was a sucker.  Suddenly he felt his back legs being lifted.  Off balance the mighty boar crashed to his side and a young hunter knelt on his neck and drove a gleaming knife blade to the hilt behind his shoulder.  The boar felt a burning sensation in his massive chest and then suddenly the weight was gone from his side.  Getting to his feet again, the big boar made some feeble slashes at the dogs.  Now he started to feel like he was drifting off to sleep, he couldnít stop the feeling and soon fell on his side with his dark blood staining the earth.
     The great mountain boar was no more.  Two young 15 years old boys on school holidays had done what so many before them had tried and failed.  The tales of the great mountain boar would be told over and over again during the coming years. Probably only the great boar would have realised, albeit a little late, that his death was caused by his yearning for a yam.

Footnote,
This is naturally a fictional story, but quite possibly a drama very similar to this has actually been played out in many a wooded theatre.

Ted

Australian Hunting Net ©2009