Hogzilla II: Bringing Home the Bacon

29 05 2007

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.

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8 responses

30 05 2007
TheBrummell

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”

I don’t know much at all about guns, especially handguns, but I would think the recoil from such a powerful gun would be dangerous to the wrists and fingers of an 11-year-old. From the obviously-forced-perspective photo, the kid looks like he could be bigger than the average for his age, but I’m still concerned for his accuracy with that weapon.

30 05 2007
laelaps

I’m a bit dubious about how the pig met its end as well. The father said he and some other men were standing by with high powered rifles in case something went awry, but given that all we have to work with is the word of the boy and his father, I don’t think the story unfolded quite in the way they’ve been telling it.

5 10 2007
Why do I bother? « Laelaps

[...] At this point I should probably mention why I torture myself with shows I know are just going to be repackaged sensationalism with little scientific content. While I am trying to educate myself more and more about the scientific points of paleontology, I also am very much interested in the public perception of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, paintings, drawings, sculptures, television, movies, amusement park rides, etc. all contributing (not always helpfully) to the public understanding of creatures that are no longer around to be viewed, at least not with flesh on. When someone creates a 3-D model of a Tyrannosaurus I am curious as to what it will look like, how it will move, what behavior the producers will make it perform, etc., and I am very concerned with the move towards “edutainment” on many of the “science” networks like TLC, the Discovery Channel, and the National Geographic Channel. Good programming is seemingly few and far between or generally less-promoted than the expensive rubbish that is constantly generated, a good documentary on the juvenile Tyrannosaurus “Jane” and a stunning documentary about lions & buffalo in Botswana (Relentless Enemies, to which there’s a beautiful companion book) receiving much less attention than pure B.S. about Bigfoot and “Hogzilla.” [...]

20 05 2008
Steven

Just thought others interested in monster hogs would like to see this–here are some pictures which, to my own knowledge, have not been tampered with. I’ll let you all just read the article on Snopes, but the hog was apparently 1100 lbs.

http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/bighog.asp#photo

17 03 2010
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