Attacked by Razorback Hogs

By Patrick Campbell & Kim Miles

Dr. Patrick Campbell, a wildlife biologist, studies wildlife populations and evaluates the health of many diverse species of wildlife in Oklahoma.

One day in the late summer of 1999, Dr. Campbell and his three canines set off to observe a population of deer in a rugged and heavily forested area. As was his usual routine, Campbell left the GPS coordinates of his destination with a friend, a wildlife Preserve Ranger.

Campbell set off on foot over the rocky, mountainous terrain with his German Shepherd, Farley, and his two wolfdogs, Montana and Dakota. Campbell’s destination was the high ground overlooking a streambed that promised to be an ideal spot for his deer observations.

Mid afternoon found Campbell and his canines in heavy brush, ascending the mountainside at a 60° angle. Farley and Montana had forged ahead, with Campbell and Dakota bringing up the rear.

Campbell and Dakota were the first to hear the pack of razorback hogs, which were snorting and moving toward them at a high rate of speed from the left. The incline of the mountain prevented them from dodging the hogs’ mad charge.

As the hogs became visible, Dakota inserted herself between her owner and the hogs, preventing Campbell from using the pistol he carries with him on these treks into the wilds.

The first hog charged Dakota, but she neatly sidestepped it, attacking it behind the head as it sailed past. Farley and Montana heard the snarling and growling and rushed back to the defense of Campbell and their pack mate, each tackling the remaining two hogs.

One hog broke away from Farley and charged Campbell, colliding with him and lacerating his left calf. The impact from the collision knocked him a few feet down the steep incline of the mountain, causing him to break his pelvis on the sharp rocks. Before the hog could inflict more damage, Campbell shot him in the chest, killing him.

Meanwhile, the canines worked in tandem, finishing off the remaining two hogs. One would pose a diversionary attack from the front while the others would perform lethal strikes from the rear in a concerted team-assault effort.

None of the canines had ever been trained in defense or in assault, but the way in which they dispatched the threats to their beloved owner and to each other was an impressive testimony to the canine instinct for survival and defense.

After the attack, Campbell assessed the damage done to himself and o his companions. Montana had a superficial laceration to her chest, while Dakota had one on her nose.

Campbell sustained the most injuries, with serious lacerations to his left leg and a broken pelvis. After bandaging his wounds, he assessed his situation. He knew that he was unable to make it out of the woods himself and that the most likely spot for help to find him would be along the streambed.

By dusk, Campbell had skinned and butchered the hog and had managed to edge his way 75 yards down the mountainside to the streambed, assisted by his faithful companions. There, he set up a makeshift camp, built a fire, cooked one of the hogs, and all four shared a wonderful meal.

Rescue efforts were successful the next evening at dusk, but Campbell was in a location that prohibited carrying him out. Extraction came by helicopter the next morning.

Campbell is now home recuperating. He is still amazed at the impressive defense of his companions--amazed with and impressed by the loyalty and the concerted efforts that brought him and his animals together to defend and to protect each other.

—Reprinted from Florida Lupine News, Fall 1999