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Old March 17, 2012, 01:19 PM   #1
Jim March
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The Great Tucson FunkyPork Roundup Of A Few Nights Ago ("glad I had a gun" story)

So I got off the last bus of the night near home, in a suburban area of Tucson AZ, just before midnight. Walking by a nearby apartment complex I see two ladies in a smallish car start to come out and then make a weird U-turn back into the complex parking lot. Odd. I look in there and see the biggest damn Javalina I've seen yet in my roughly six years around here. I'd guesstimate around 125lbs worth.


These things aren't "exactly" pigs, but for all practical purposes they might as well be. If startled up close they can be vicious. And this thing was cruising around right past people's apartment doors - if somebody came out unawares right on top of it they could get chewed up and spat out. Plus it's basically cornered in there, scared of the cars, forcing it in up against people's doors.

Not a good scene.

I talk to the gals, one of whom was calling her husband inside one of the apartments. Him and a friend came out, and we helped escort the ladies into their house. We then discussed what to do.

The husband in question asked me if I had a problem with guns. Err, no - I told him I was armed myself. Cool - he showed me his Ruger LC9 held low, finger off trigger - his only holster was a deep-cover rig and he wanted faster access than that.

We discussed trying to carefully and gently chase it out. In this complex there were a lot of apartment front doors in close proximity, opening onto fairly narrow areas. We didn't like the idea of this thing feeling "trapped" if somebody suddenly came out not expecting a funkypork surprise at close range.

I told him I'd take point as my 357Mag with hot loads was much more likely to stop it if it came to that, and I had a much better flashlight than anybody else present (160lumen, dual CR123 type). We did NOT want to shoot the dang thing - safe backstops were there, but so were a lot of apartment walls.

Well short form, we did manage to herd it out the same way it got in. My flashlight was critical, it let me keep him in sight from enough distance that he wasn't threatened into charging.

Once he was off down the street, we saw the rest of his herd - we counted at least six adults all told, most across the street, plus at least two babies. The one we had rounded up was the biggest, I assume the alpha male.

Hairy situation, somewhat, but I felt very, very well equipped for it. Never cleared leather, but I did walk around hand on grip, flashlight in the off hand. A weapon-mounted light would have been a fiasco in this case - avoiding scaring any of the other residents was very high on the list of priorities!

For the record: we don't usually see those suckers that deep into town. Obviously it does happen though. If it was just ordinary houses, wouldn't have been such an issue but that apartment complex wasn't designed for close encounters of the funkypork kind.

Sidenote on the size of this thing: I'm comparing weight to known weights of California wild boar I've seen stuffed and mounted. The various "spec sheets" on these things online says they max out around 80lbs or a hair over. This one was in a major no-hunting zone (city of Tucson!) and had probably been raised on year-round-watered decorative plants as opposed to the usual desert fare. It seems plausible to me that under those circumstances a "Javalina Rex" could easily develop. The good news was, it was reasonably well behaved. It faced us down a couple of times but didn't threaten to charge, and seemed fairly calm through the whole thing.

And if you think these things can't be dangerous, here's what the skull looks like:

Jim March
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Old March 17, 2012, 01:32 PM   #2
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Great story Jim. Always feels great when you are prepared an make the right decision.
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Old March 17, 2012, 03:13 PM   #3
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Good job. Them javalinas are not to mess with.
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Old March 17, 2012, 03:22 PM   #4
Jim March
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One thing that wasn't clear is the layout of the place, and why it added to the problems.

This was basically a "walled compound" with only the one driveway in. There's a central parking lot area, and then walls just inside the parking spots, then walkways around the perimeter, and then the actual apartments. The walkways in front of the apartment doors were "spiky" - in other words, leading to a number of dead ends with apartment doors in them to each side.

The funkypork was mainly in among those walkways, between the people's doors and the 5ft-or-so walls surrounding the parking lot.

So, if somebody came out of their front door suddenly, there was a huge chance the piggie would feel "trapped" either down one of the dead-end walkways or between their front door and the walls around the parking.

The closed-in feeling was, to me, terrifying in that the piggie would feel just as trapped, raising the odds it would chew somebody.

The nastiest part was trying to clear the dead-end spaces, slowly creeping around the corners and bushes. The goal was to avoid at all cost surprising it at close range.

The flashlight was just SO crucial. And non-weapon-mounted was just as important, to avoid panicking a resident.
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Old March 17, 2012, 04:29 PM   #5
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Sad ending.
I was hoping this ended with a barbecue.
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Old March 18, 2012, 10:08 AM   #6
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that's a great story and a great pic too. i'm glad no one was hurt, and kinda glad you didn't have to shoot him either. having to explain discharging a firearm in city limits. i'm sure all would have been good in the end, but avoiding a hassle is always good in my book.
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Old March 18, 2012, 10:30 PM   #7
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Called quite a few of them while coyote hunting near Picacho Peak, had some come as close as 2 feet while sitting perfectly still. A little unnerving, but they were more curious than aggressive.
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Old March 18, 2012, 11:29 PM   #8
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Am I the only person who reads "Funkypork Surprise" and thinks that would be a great name for a ska band?

Glad it didn't come to shooting. I've always heard of the little guys being pests, but rarely of bites. How common are injuries?
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Old March 18, 2012, 11:32 PM   #9
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I think Javelina Rex could be the title of one of those 1950's horror films....giant ants, tarantulas, killer shrews, now a giant pig rooting up the Southwest....finally brought down in its lair with flamethrowers, and served up at the world's largest barbecue.
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Old March 19, 2012, 12:25 AM   #10
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Tom, when bands like Lubricated Goat had records down at the Toxic Ranch years past, and a group called the Butthole Surfers got on a movie soundtrack, yes, FunkyPork Surprise would be a good off beat band name. Hey, who thought a band called Iron Butterfly would go anywhere?
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Old March 19, 2012, 07:50 AM   #11
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Re: Rarity of bites.

I did a quick net search and found out basically nothing.

That should indicate a pretty rare occurrence if no one is keeping count.

That being said, I have personal knowledge that they can become aggressive through having been treed two or three times (when I was a kid growing up on the King Ranch in Texas). It wasn't too difficult to wait 'til they lost interest and moved on; their attention-span seems to be limited.

I have an acquaintance, however, in the Texas Hill country who was bitten by one and he had serious complications and still has problems with his leg and the bite occurred 20+ years ago.

So, I think it may be one of those " ain't about the odds, it's about the outcome..." things.

Pretty much summed up with don't mess with them.

Show me the data
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Old March 19, 2012, 12:30 PM   #12
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Haha, when I lived in Tucson I had a designated stick and then later a baseball bat I kept by the door for "pigs." I never had much trouble with the adults, it was the adolescents that would buck me. I'd walk up on them eating my garbage and several times a young one would hold its ground, even after a whack with the stick. Never had one stick around after I put two hands into the swing though

To my knowledge attacks on humans are extremely rare, although they are known to make a quick mess of a pet dog.
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Old March 19, 2012, 06:54 PM   #13
Jim March
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So, I think it may be one of those " ain't about the odds, it's about the outcome..." things.
I actually understood ahead of time that attacks on humans are rare. But again, I didn't like this particular circumstance.

1) This was a BIG friggin' piggie.

2) Very constrained spaces where somebody could stumble on it in tight quarters (coming out of an apartment in condition white).

3) It was already acting scared due to traffic and the "no way out" problem except PAST the traffic it was scared of.

So my thinking was, to hell with odds, this was a bad situation.

Sidenote: I'm a mild-to-moderate Asperger's case. Among the "upsides" to that particular mental difference is, I can picture an animal's emotional state and predict how it's likely to feel in a given circumstance...better than most folks anyhow. Well enough that I've often surprised dog owners when their dogs don't bark at me (despite barking at every other stranger) and I'm able to tell when a dog bounding at me is friendly or unfriendly to a very high degree of accuracy. The picture I was getting of this piggie's state was off-scale frightening under these particular circumstance, far moreso than if he was just wandering among normal houses.
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Old March 19, 2012, 07:03 PM   #14
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'Pigs" have notoriously bad eyesight. I had one just outside my back fence that was less than two feet from me but didn't know I was standing there watching him. To me they are truly fascinating critters but best left alone. Not known to attach humans, but they can leave nasty wounds if they do.'
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