Kids join in a lolly scramble as the heaviest boars are weighed in at the 2018 Pouto pig hunt. Last year’s record was 183.4 pounds

Pig season on the peninsula

by Andy Bryenton

The great annual Pouto Pig Hunt is on again, with stormy late-winter weather no deterrent to the hunters who come from far and wide to bag trophies and prizes amid the forests and hills of the peninsula. From midnight on Thursday, August 29 through to the 1–3pm weigh-in on Sunday the hunt is on for the biggest hogs, with big prizes up for grabs.

Also part of this yearly contest is a multispecies hunt for younger outdoors enthusiasts. There will be prizes to be had for the biggest eels caught, as well as for the heftiest turkeys, possums and goats.

With pigs joining these last two on the list of pest species wreaking damage on our forests (and pig activity implicated in the threat of kauri dieback), the hunt not only cuts back on numbers of these imported animals but also gives a gauge as to their populations.

It’s also a weekend of fun and camaraderie for those who love the outdoors, right on the doorstep of spring, which dawns on September 1 in time for Father’s Day.

For dads and kids who hunt together, it could not have come together any better! Those fathers of an outdoors state of mind might want to make hints about top hunting and hiking gear that might give them the edge on the hunt and would also make a great gift.

As in previous years, there will be prizes not just for the heaviest boar along with runners up, but also a cash prize for the average weight boar, and a category for open-jaw weight.

With one Otago hunter legendarily felling a 166kg boar in the past, there’s no knowing what porcine monsters lurk in our forests waiting for an enterprising hunter to try their luck.

Still, this pales in comparison to the 377kg hog taken by an Alabama homeowner, who was surprised when it blundered into his back yard.

Our local pigs may not reach such titanic proportions, but no doubt those participating in the Pouto Pig Hunt this year would love to make their acquaintance if they do.