Thursday, June 27, 2013
Foster takes hog hunting to new level
By BARRY BURLESON
Justin Foster’s adrenaline starts pumping just talking about his favorite pastime.
The 33-year-old Marshall Countian is taking the hog-hunting world by storm. He thrives on the challenge and danger of hunting the wild animals with dogs.
“It’s the most extreme hunting in the world,” said Foster, pointing to scars on his legs. “I’ve put a lot of work into it – a lot of weekends. It’s fun.”
He has been making hog-hunting videos for six years, under the label Southern Hoggers. In January 2014, he will be making his television debut on the Sportsman Channel, as part of Steve Criner’s Dog Soldier. The channel reaches more than 32 million U.S. households.
“I’ve signed a contract to air on his show, and actually, we’re filming on it right now,” Foster said.
“Plus, he and I will host an additional show (later) on nothing but hog hunting. He’s working on sponsorships for that – 13 episodes and 13 reruns.”
A hunter from a young age, Foster got hooked on hog hunting while living near Dallas, Texas, 11 years ago and working as a truck driver.
“I grew up rabbit hunting with dogs, coon hunting, deer, everything,” he said.
“Then, living out in Texas, working for a company there, one of the guys I was friends with got me into hog hunting.”
Initially, Foster hunted the wild hogs with guns, but then switched strictly to dogs.
“We never take guns,” he said, “just knives.”
Their well-trained dogs circle the prey, grab the wild hogs by the ear and then the hunters themselves step in and grab ahold for the kill with their sharp instruments.
“I’ve always liked working dogs,” Foster said. “This is extreme. It’s a challenge.
“These hogs can cut up every one of your dogs and you, too.”
Foster has a website – www.hogdoggers.com. His videos are available for order online or locally at Cousin’s in Holly Springs.
He hunts wild hogs in Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi.
Starting July 1, wild hogs will become a part of Mississippi’s beaver control program. Lawmakers approved and Gov. Phil Bryant signed legislation that expands the program to include both nuisance animals.
An existing advisory board, administered by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, will be expanded to include those impacted by wild hogs’ behavior – which is destructive by any measure.
“They affect everything,” said Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Andy Prosser. “Farmers, homeowners, golf courses, the timber industry – they get everybody in some form or fashion. And the population is growing. They’re never going to go away, but this is about starting the conversation among the affected parties about the best way to manage them.”
Recent research by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks suggests that to keep the existing population from expanding beyond control, 70 percent of wild hogs have to be removed annually.
Foster said Southern Hoggers is about hog hunting the professional way.
“We’re taking it to a new level – totally professional and ethical,” he said.
“It will have a huge impact when we put it on TV – to air across the United States. We want to pull the younger generation into it, too.”
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