In South Carolina, wild boars are so despised by the locals that even fish and wildlife authorities virtually ignore them.
In South Carolina, wild boars are so despised by the locals that even fish and wildlife authorities virtually ignore them.
Credit: Photograph by Peter Frank Edwards

The next morning, at dawn, we unfold ourselves from the wayworn cabin, gather our kit (essentially the swampland equivalent of foul-weather gear), and march off after the dogs looking for another pig.

Mercifully, we find one half a mile out of camp on nearly dry land.

"Go! Go! Go!" Every one of the nine members of the hunting party gives way to Farmerie on the path as the bay grows more insane. As Farmerie passes me I grab his arm. "It's the knife with the orange handle," I say under my breath.

Farmerie nods and takes off along the path, weaving his way among the cypress roots toward a 100-pound hog backed into a hollow cypress tree, protecting its flank from the three dogs snapping at it.

"Brad, I'm gonna push this nasty pig out of the tree and hold on to its hind leg," shouts Boyd. "Brad, that'll be your one, maybe only, chance."

Farmerie nods. "Now take the knife, Brad," says Boyd.

All those years breaking down pigs (and anything else he was told to butcher) in the basement of some of London's most celebrated restaurants has endowed Farmerie with an unconscious understanding of a boar's anatomy. Though he had earlier copped to doubts about being ready to kill, he seems

focused and determined. He takes the first step toward the pig's wildly thrashing head and plunges the blade just once, severing the aorta and piercing the heart, killing the razorback instantly. Each member of the club has mentioned, at one time or another, that you cannot mistake a perfect kill. All have, some repeatedly, provided a vivid detail of one. A quick survey of the expressions on the members' faces suggests that a fatal blow like Farmerie's had not been seen for a while at the Santee Rod Gun & Guitar Club.

The sun is just now rising above the trees in the swamp, casting dappled light over the scene. In the distance a bark turns into a bay, and Boyd instructs Chase and Ross to see to the dogs. If we're going to make good on our promise to produce a meal from one of these boars by tomorrow evening, Farmerie says we need to pack up and be back at Bubsy's home in McClellanville by noon, latest. He had allotted 36 hours to prepare the meal. Bubsy suggests we split the party in two. Boyd and Chase disappear between the trees to collect the dogs and quit the island.