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Hog wild event at Coliseum

By Staff, 02/18/19 9:56 AM

HOPE – It’s not a sport for the faint of heart.

Saturday saw the Hope Coliseum filled with members of the Arkansas Dog Hunter’s Association for the Arklatex’s Wild Hog Roundup. What makes this such a challenging sport is the hunters can only be armed with a knife of some kind. No guns of any kind are allowed. However, dogs are used in the hunt, which covered three days. Jeromy Sullivent, president of the Arkansas Dog Hunter’s Association, said the hunt was combined with a treeing event this year.

As to the hunt, a dozen four-man teams and their dogs take to the woods for three days. Their goal is to kill as many feral hogs as possible, with the biggest five killed brought back to be weighed. Two types of dogs are used – baying and catching. The baying dogs locate the hogs and alert the hunters to their locations. The catch dogs have the most dangerous job as they literally catch the hogs by sinking their teeth into the animal’s flesh until the hunters arrive and stab the hog to death. Because of the risks, hunters are required to sign waivers stating they won’t file suit if they’re injured.

Sullivent said the group has been doing the Razorback Roundup in Fordyce the past six years, with this being the third hunt in Hope. The idea, he said, is to show the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) feral hogs can be taken care of at no cost to taxpayers. However, he added, if the AGFC and state added money to the hunts, more people would get involved. As it stands, hunters pay $300 each to participate.

“It’s all about fun,” Sullivent said. “This is a fundraiser with all the money going back to the association for lobbyists and attorneys.” He said there are 10,000 members of the Dog Hunters Association in Arkansas.

At one time, he added, the meat from the hogs was given to food banks. This stopped because of regulations from the United States Department of Agriculture require all hogs to be slaughtered live, while hanging upside down. Now, the hunters do whatever they want with the meat.

The treeing event was interesting as hunters brought their dogs to see how well they could tree a caged raccoon. The dogs were brought to the cage to sniff the raccoon, which was hauled up a makeshift tree. From there on, the dogs were judged on how many times they barked per minute. Most of the dogs barked continuously, though some found the activity in the arena more interesting than the coon.