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by Tumbleweed Smith

I went to the high school in Rochelle to interview a fifteen-year-old student named Ty Shackelford. Someone told me he goes hog hunting at night with only a flashlight and a knife. I had a super visit with him. He says he’s been hunting since he was wearing diapers and boots.

“I’d stand by the tank in my diapers and boots and shoot birds with a twenty-two. I‘d take one bullet and come back with four birds. My parents would ask me how I took them and I told them I didn’t know. I just knew I had four birds and I was happy.”

He was three years old then. He killed his first deer when he was four. Now about those hog hunts:

“I just get my dogs, put them in the truck. When they see something, I let them out and they run after a hog. Then I go up there with my flashlight and my knife, jump on the hog’s back and stab it.”

I told him that most people hunt hogs with a gun.

“My daddy told me to stop using a gun. Too much lead in the hog when I bring it home.”

Ty stabs the hog behind the shoulder with an eight-inch knife.

“His head is too hard. I had one run off with my knife one time, so I stopped stabbing them in the head.”

Once a hog ran away with Ty on its back. He bumped his head on a low limb. Most of the time Ty hunts by himself. He has never lost a dog and has never been hit by a hog’s tusk. He has killed more than 400 hogs. Only three of them got away. He’s been hunting hogs for years.

“I started taking up my dogs and stabbing hogs when I was nine. The first one I got was around a hundred pounds. I stabbed it with a knife no bigger than your hand. The ones that are under a hundred pounds I either take them home or give them to some of my friends. The ones that get up around 400 pounds I just drag them off. They taste too wild and nasty. I don’t eat them.”

Ty lives with his family on a 200-acre tract of land. There are no hogs on it because Ty and his dogs cleared them out.

“I started calling people and asked them if they had any hogs. When they said yes, I asked them if they’d mind my hunting them. They say ‘come on.’ I go out there and take care of them. I call those hogs big rats. They tear up fields and fences and eat newborn calves. They got some of ours.”

Ty goes hunting every weekend and sometimes during the week. He loves it. When he grows up, he said he wants to get a job that has something to do with wildlife.

more articles by Tumbleweed Smith

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