A hobby that isn’t a ‘boar’

A hobby that isn't a 'boar'

Hannah Ortega, Staff Reporter

The soft snorting of a boar is quietly heard in the distance as the hunter approaches, stalking forward slowly with gun in hand. The hunter moves through trees and brush, tracking her latest kill, which is unaware of the fate it is about to meet at the barrel of a gun. Light shines faintly into the dense forest as she moves and, peeking through the leaves, sophomore Ellie Smith spots her target, aims her gun, and takes the lethal shot. While some girls like drawing or playing soccer or shopping, Ellie spends some of her time hunting wild boar and other animals, but boar are her favorite target because of the thrill of the chase.

“If you miss, you get to go hunt it down in the forest so you’re kind of like stalking them and it’s really fun,” Ellie said. “I usually go with my brother and my dad and we try to get large wild boar because they eat people’s crops and overpopulation is really bad for them so we shoot them and we make them into hog sausage at the butcher and then we eat them.”

Ellie drives about an hour to Avery in order to hunt for boar about once every two months. Ellie first got into hunting boar by watching her father from the sidelines.

“When she was old enough, 13, I taught her gun safety and taught her how to shoot,” Ellie’s dad Randy said. “She easily picked it up and has become a very responsible and efficient hunter. I enjoy watching her and her brother hunt. It’s great family time and it’s something that she can do and enjoy for the rest of her life.”

Ellie still and will always remember when she killed her first boar.

“The first time I shot, they don’t always just fall and drop, but apparently I hit it, but I didn’t think I did because they all scattered it was like kind of a herd and they all scattered so I was really devastated because it looked like I didn’t get one,” Ellie said. “Then when we went over there, there was kind of a pool of blood so we were like ok I hit it, and we had to track it.”

Sometimes it’s not all fun and games when out hunting. Ellie once had a close call while watching her dad’s friend’s kids near where her dad was hunting.

“They were outside in the kind of wooded brushed area outside and we’re looking and we really want to like get into the action, especially the little kids, they love that stuff,” Ellie said. “So their dad stumbles upon a sleeping a hog that’s like a monster, like he’s huge. And so that hog does not like that, obviously, so he comes charging out of the woods in the same direction as us and so I was like ‘run!’ and we all got out of the way and one of the kids fell and I was like so scared, I was so scared that it was going to be my fault if she got hurt or something so I picked her up and just ran the other way. It was so scary just seeing it run at us.”

Ellie has also had her share of victories and moments in the limelight.

“One time, my favorite time, we had to track down this one hog we knew was out on the land but we didn’t know where and I really wanted to get it and we were looking forever and finally our guide spots it and its just staring at us and that means its about to charge and I’m on like this little ranger thing and I like got the perfect shot right between the eyes,” Ellie said. “It was awesome because it was about to run at us and it just like dropped. That was my favorite part.”

Ellie gets different reactions from people over her sport, with some girls thinking it’s mean and gross, others thinking it’s cool, but no matter what she stays true to it and herself. One person that isn’t surprised by the thought of a girl hunter and even supports it is leadership teacher Allison Lyles.

“Where I grew up it was very normal for girls to hunt. And so all my friends, we all hunted while we were growing up just because we lived in the country and so there wasn’t a lot of extra girl things to do around town so we went with our parents, our guy friends, and things like that and went hunting,” Lyles said. “And so, I’m not surprised at it at all because my friends and I still hunt hogs. If she hunts hogs, I think that’s wonderful because pigs are, while all animals are created and they’re wonderful, pigs are a real nuisance for farmers and ranchers and they cause a lot of destruction on property. While some people think it’s not appropriate to shoot them, lots of people eat wild hog and stuff like that so its not like it goes to waste and it also helps the farmers out.”

Lyles says that hunting even taught her life skills.

“As a young women, knowing how to go out and hunt, it also really gives you a lot of confidence to know how to pursue things. So, other people might not think of it this way, but my mind set is that if a hunter,” Lyles said. “So I know how to initiate, I know how to have a target and go after it. So even in the business world, when I was in a corporate setting, it helped a lot because I was able to know OK once you find something that you need to pursue, these are strategic ways that you go about it, and I learned it from doing that in the wild chasing after a hog or something.”

While hunting provides some food for the Ellie’s family and helps farmers, it also gives her, her brother, and her father time to bond

over a common hobby.

“I love it, I love going with them,” Ellie said. “My mom doesn’t really like it, but my dad and brother and I really love it.”