(Charleston) — Hunting of any type is a challenge when fair chase rules are applied. However, the challenge is magnified when there’s a possibility the game may turn on you and make you the prey.
It’s exactly the thrill derived by visitors to Dorsey’s Trophy Hunters Lodge in Blackstock, South Carolina.
Owner Jay Dorsey, known as "The Wild Hog Man," is a regular exhibitor at the West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show in Charleston.
"I’ve been wrestlin’, huntin’, catchin’ wild hogs for probably 30 years and I guess that’s just the name that stuck,” laughs Dorsey during a recent visit on West Virginia Outdoors.
The affable southerner spins tales of amazing hog hunts that makes one immediately wonder if he’s actually hearing Jay or the ghost of the late Jerry Clower.
West Virginia offers some very limited hog hunting opportunities. During the 1970’s when southern West Virginia was bereft of most big game, the DNR introduced the wild boar into the head of Spruce Laurel Fork in the region where Logan, Boone, Wyoming, and Raleigh Counties meet. However, as the years progressed and numbers of deer, turkey, and bear increased the numbers of boar have dwindled in competition for food and habitat.
In South Carolina–and all over the southern United States, hogs had a much longer window of time to take hold. Dorsey says the first wild hogs were introduced in the 14th Century when Hernado Desoto arrived to make his discovery of what today is Florida.
"He let the first hogs go way back in the 1500’s. They migrated up the coast and into South Carolina," explained Dorsey. "As time went on, people in the south never put their hogs up in the summer. You try to catch them up in the fall and there’s always two or three that don’t get caught and they actually turn wild and keep getting wilder and become more and more plentiful."
Today, South Carolina features the Russian wild boar–a breed brought in by Desoto many years ago and the feral hog, which is a domesticated hog that has gone wild.
Amazingly, the feral hogs will not only undergo a psychological transformation, but will physically evolve in time with tusks and an elongated snout.
Dorsey has found a way to capitalize on what is a pain in the neck for southern farmers and gardeners. He sells opportunities to out-of-towners to kill the hogs on a true southern hog hunt.
"They know every time I come with a few clients, there’s going to be a garden saved that year,” laughed Dorsey.
There’s little else that can be done to control the numbers of the beasts that are highly destructive.
"Those things can really do some damage. In a hayfield or a bean field, they will root out some holes that will actually turn a combine over,” said Dorsey.
They’re also a rather vicious and aggressive animal that will run a man down and attack under certain circumstances with razor sharp tusks and jagged teeth.
Dorsey’s lodge offers hunts from a stand that will produce hogs of all sizes. They also have hunts that involve chasing the hogs with hounds. Dorsey says a dog hunt will almost always produce a hog weighing around 150-pounds.
Dorsey’s Trophy Lodge also specializes in turkey hunts, trophy deer hunts, quail hunts, and quality cat fishing and striper fishing.
"We’re right off I-77 in Fairfield County, South Carolina,” said Dorsey. "If you can get on I-77 at Charleston–there’s only one more turn off the interstate to get to my place."