According to some recent news reports, “Hogzilla” may no longer be top hog when it comes to monster swine. If this tall-tale is indeed authentic, 11-year-old Jamison Stone killed a 9 foot long, 1,051 pound hog with a “Smith & Wesson customized .50 caliber revolver shooting 350 grain bullets” somewhere in the Alabama backwoods. The seemingly iconic image of the young boy with his prize pig has circled the internet, but there is certainly more than may initially meet the eye to the picture.
If you look closely, you’ll note that you can see Jamison’s knee sticking up above the back of the pig, showing that he’s kneeling. If the hog was as big as the image makes it seem, you wouldn’t be able to see Jamison if he were kneeling behind the animal. Such is a common camera trick used by hunters to make their prizes look bigger than they really are. While local news outlets might be eating the story up, reporters from hither-and-yon are a little more skeptical. Toby Harnden of the Telegraph writes the following in a wonderfully-titled article “Is 87-stone hog hunter telling porkies?“;
Is this one of biggest wild hogs to have roamed the earth? Or a hoax by Alabama rednecks, cleverly using perspective, knowledge of hunting and the power of the internet to have a joke at the expense of urban dwellers everywhere?
Apparently there are no remains to examine or exhume as with Hogzilla; Stone’s pig is already being processed into sausage, the head being prepared by a taxidermist. Lack of scientific (or even reasonably reliable) measurement hasn’t stopped Stone’s father from setting up monsterpig.com, however, which touts his son’s kill and features some more photos of the pig. The extra photos show the use of forced perspective and camera tricks even more clearly, however, and the pig seems to be of varying size depending on what image you’re looking at. Is it a big pig? Surely, but not nearly as large as the well-publicized press image seems to support. Not surprisingly, however, Jamison already has a role in the upcoming schlock-film The Legend of Hogzilla (if you must see a giant-hog film, rent Razorback, which it seems the new film plagiarizes to some degree), and given the fact that there are some rather large boars roaming the south, I suspect every now and then a similar tale will pop up for a moment on the news feeds. I just hope the next time such an event occurs that experts are called in to examine and measure the animal, rather than having tons of snapshots and “just-so” stories floating about leaving no one with any answers.