Great State: A Breed Apart, Temple, OK Wild Hog Hunt Puts Them On Display

Great State
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TEMPLE, OKLAHOMA -- As town celebrations go this one is still unique.

For the past five years now, Justin Ellis has organized a festival and contest around the hunting of wild hogs.

On a clear Saturday afternoon in late March hunters started lining up to weigh in Friday night's kill.

Justin says, "Every year it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger."

Billy Ray Tisdale and his brother got their big hog close to town. Billy shot a boar through the head from 75 yards.

"I just happened to see him come up from behind a tree and stop," he recalls.

C.J. Blackmon, Craig Kilcrease, and Dustin Sparks hunt wild pigs with dogs at night.

No guns, just sharp teeth.

"They did a jam up job," says Dustin of his canine partners. "They kept us out of trouble."

Hunters brought in 60 animals to weigh.

Prizes went to the largest three, the longest tusk, and the biggest hog of the hunt.

Bragging rights get serious in Cotton County.

Accuse a man of cheating and you risk a fight.

They are a nuisance animal all over the state, damaging crops and wild lands.

Ellis himself once lost 50% of his crop from one of his fields.

Wild hogs can be big too.

The largest weighed in at close to 200 pounds field dressed.

And you'll never guess who brought him in.

Stephanie Ledford, mom of 4, and her friend Samantha Lee.

It's kind of a weekend thing for them.

Stephanie points out, "There's a lot of hogs around here and that's just kind of what we do for fun."

Most people don't eat the big hogs, too smelly.

But in the brush lands of Cotton County lots of folks would like to hunt them right out of existence,
and have a good old time doing it.

The Go Wild Hog Contest awarded prizes in two categories.

Dustin Sparks dog team won for the largest three hogs from the dog hunting group.

They also won for the longest tusk, 2 and 5/8 inches.

Garret Bolin won first prize for the largest three hogs.

His trifecta weighed in at 418 pounds.

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