500-pound hog killed after 6 years, called ‘oldest, smartest’ in pack

Published 1:59 am Saturday, August 19, 2017

A six-year quest to kill a massive feral hog ended Friday when John Niedbala shot the beast off of Hwy. 70 near the Covington County tree farm.

The approximately 500-pound hog was so big, locals called him “VW.”

“We call him VW because when you see him, he’s so big you could mistake him for a Volkswagen,” Niedbala said.

The hog had been destroying local crops, tearing them up and eating at his leisure.

“We have tried to catch him tons of different ways,” Niedbala said. “He was a smart pig, though. He would always eat around our traps and stay away from human activity.”

The men involved in the six-year chase tried to use dogs to track and catch the hog, but the hog overpowered them as well, leaving a few injured and bitten.

Niedbala said that he had shot the hog before with a .44 prior to yesterday, but the hog was unfazed and it ran off.

Anthony King was among the hunters who had encountered VW in the woods. King said the beast roamed between Antioch and Harmony churches.

“He was just a loner,” King said. Describing an encounter with the massive hog in a swamp, he said, “When he ran that night, he shook the earth like a horse.”

King said he and a group of hunters had worked to remove feral hogs from lands in the area. Those that were left, like “VW,” were the oldest and smartest, he said.

But VW’s luck ran out on Friday, as Niedbala had set out a foot snare called a “Hog Elimanator” and placed bait (different kinds of vegetables) around the trap. The foot snare caught the hog by the snout while it was sniffing around.

“Catching it by the snout was something I had never seen before,” Niedbala said.

Even after catching “VW,” Niedbala said that it took him about 25 rounds out of a .22 before the hog was finally defeated.

After taking some pictures with the hog, Niedbala gave the hog to some co-workers who are going to cook it and eat it.

“I’m not a wasteful person, but I don’t like the taste of the feral hogs,” Niedbala said. “I kept the skull, though, in remembrance of VW.”

The skull will be on display at Fletcher’s Outdoors, possibly as soon as today, and at least by Monday.