By Ad Crable
08/11/04 - Lancaster
COUNTY, PA - You may recall the story
and picture of the 12-foot, half-ton feral hog
reportedly killed on a Georgia plantation a
couple weeks back.
story has touched off debate around the globe
about its authenticity. Many, doubting a hog
can grow to such gargantuan proportions, have
dismissed it as a computer-enhanced image.
Hogzilla or Hoaxzilla?
Can a pig pork up to the size of a Volkswagen
Sure it can. There’s one on a farm in Conoy
Township near Bainbridge right now.
It’s dead, shot in Stephen Mohr’s
cornfield on Nov. 24, 2001, after it escaped
its pen. Until that day, it had had an easy
time of it, breeding and dining on entire
watermelons and occasional chickens that would
perch on the hog’s back.
Before the pig was mounted for display in the
Bainbridge Inn, Mohr took the pig’s vitals:
· 10 feet, 6 inches long from snout to rump;
11 feet, 10 inches when hanging from a barn
beam after being hoisted there with the aid of
a pickup and block and tackle.
· Well over 1,000 pounds. The hog weighed
1,005 pounds when Mohr bought him six months
earlier from a Pennsylvania breeder. He
figures the hog gained another 100 pounds or
so while he owned him.
· 35 inches wide across the back.
· 9 1/2-inch tusks.
And pig’s ears that would have made a dog
The hog was a cross between a Russian boar and
a feral pig. Feral pigs are descendants of
domestic pigs brought over from Europe that
escaped long ago and live in the wild.
Some 20 states now have substantial feral pig
populations, which cause enormous
environmental problems as they consume food
used by native wildlife and upturn the earth,
rooting for food.
Mohr, a longtime Conoy Township supervisor,
bought the hog to mate with a wild Russian
pig. Grown pigs were then released on an
island in the Susquehanna River that Mohr owns
as part of his pay-to-hunt Island Exotic Hunts
Over time, the hog became increasingly
irritable and belligerent. “He’d pick a
gate up with you standing on it and throw
you,” recalls Mohr. “You couldn’t trust
him. I was afraid he would hurt somebody.”
When the boar escaped one fall day and hung
out in cornfields, Mohr knew he wouldn’t be
able to recapture him. Howard Smith, a friend
and owner of the Bainbridge Inn, thought the
hog would be a fine conversation piece for his
Smith shot the hog with a rifle and hired
Mohr’s taxidermist son-in-law, Tony Heisey,
to do a full body mount. The head and
coarse-hair hide weighed 178 pounds, alone.
The folks at the tannery that processed the
hide said they had never seen such a large
hide and never wanted to again.
Heisey found the largest animal form he could
find to spread the hide over. It was a
300-pound wild boar body but was not nearly
“I would have been better off buying a big
hippo and cutting it down,” Heisey laments.
He ended up pouring his own liquid foam body
and sculpting it to fit.
The taxidermist spent more than 200 hours
preparing the lifelike mount. It cost Smith
“in the thousands.”
The display is presently on loan to Mohr, who
hauls it to sports shows for his booth, where
he sells deer lures, calls and hunts.
He sometimes lets kids sit on the hog’s
But what about all the ham sandwiches from the
hog? Where’s the pork?
The meat of pigs that have lived that long —
seven years — and grown that big has a
strong taste and odor not to be trifled with,
“The only thing it was good for was hot
Italian sausages,” says Mohr, who
nevertheless attempted to eat some of the ham.
Asked what it tasted like, Mohr thinks a
moment before replying.
“Like it had kerosene injected in it.”