Q&A with Pigman

Sportsman Channel’s Aporkalypse 2014 commences Monday, August 4 at 7 p.m. ET.  The weeklong programming stunt exposes Americans to the feral hog problem through a series of shows – HeliHunter, Aporkalypse I & II and culminates Sunday, August 10 at 8 p.m. ET with “Pigman: The Series.” The show is dubbed “Aparalypse” and once again promises to deliver a frenzy of innovative and unconventional ways to eradicate feral hogs from the air. Viewers may do a double-take after watching how “Pigman” takes to the skies. For a sneak peak of Aporkalypse 2014, click here.



Pig Man

How did he become interested in pig hunting?

Brian has been around pigs his entire life. He killed his first hog when he was 9 years-old on his family deer lease in Centerville, Texas.  As a teen, neighbors would call upon his dad, Tom “Dapper” Quaca, to send his boy over with every intention of taking care of business.  Pigs were his specialty, and people acknowledged him because of it.   His desire to find more efficient and accurate ways to address the growing pig population explosion eventually led him into a trade as a riflesmith.  He focused on guns and learned their intricacies, caliber selection and bullet ballistics. The pig’s sense of smell is so good that he felt he had to become more efficient at killing pigs at longer ranges.


Who nicknamed “Pigman”?

Fresh out of trade school, Brian Quaca quickly gained a reputation as a respectable riflesmith who could turn an average rifle on ranchland into a superior and deadly-accurate weapon capable of stopping any animal in its tracks.  As he quickly approached a total rebuild count of 100 guns, his clients were captivated by the high-energy hunts he engaged in.  It didn’t take long for a few return customers to request the rifle and the riflesmith on their next hunt.  One of Brian’s first clients as an outfitter was Rick Valdez, who Brian affectionately refers to as “Cyclops.”  Rick, a very well-respected archer in the industry, continued to hunt with Brian for several years bringing his friends, colleagues, and business partners. Each hunt, each relationship, and each memory would eventually help to develop the outdoor personality we know as “Pigman.”


Why does he want to be known as the voice of the pig hunter?

Brian has always felt that pigs were given a bad rap. Whether it’s hunting them with dogs and knives, guns, or bows, he’s felt it was important to place hogs on a national platform because that’s what the “common folk” hunt and what the everyday man can afford.


Who taught him to hunt?

Brian was born and raised in Mexia, Texas.  His Dad, Tom “Dapper” Quaca, grew up in the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania and learned to hunt from his older brother, Ed.  Dap wanted Brian to be raised knowing the values and tactics of how to be a hunter and fisherman.  Brian began going on hunts with Dap when he was just a baby. Dap fondly recalls changing diapers and putting Brian’s toys in the bottom of the blind so he could play.  Brian shot his first deer in Centerville, Texas at 7 years-old.


How long has he been chasing pigs?

Since he was old enough to hold a rifle. Brian first started hunting pigs when he was nine or 10.



 Feral hogs aren’t your friendly 4-H quality show pigs. The current hybrid strain is a mix between Russian and farm-raised hogs that has created one of the nastiest, toughest, most vicious species of game in the country.  These animals are large, with average mature boars weighing between 130-150 pounds, with a fierce snout and tusks used for killing, defense and tearing up millions of acres of farmland. A mature 150-pound wild boar with 2 ½ inch cutters (lower teeth) will do more damage or harm to humans and pets because of its speed and agility.

“Feral hogs were once largely a rural or agricultural issue in Texas, inflicting more than $52 million in damage annually,” said Dr. Billy Higginbotham, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist. “But the porkers have literally moved to town and are now causing significant damage in urban and suburban communities. This damage includes the rooting of landscapes, parks, lawns, golf courses sports fields and even cemeteries, as they search for food. Some reports estimate total damage in the U.S. may be $1.5 billion annually, which is based on population estimates.”


What does the term “feral” mean?

“Feral” means a domesticated hog that has escaped and adapted to the wild. Their bodies have adapted to the wild with excellent hearing and sense of smell along with tusks that continue to grow in males.


Discuss their life/breeding habits?

According to the Texas Cooperative Extension article, “Feral Hogs in Texas,” feral hogs are prolific. The sow can start breeding at eight months and produce two litters, in some cases even three litters in a year. In addition to the billions of dollars of damage they inflict, feral hogs are known to carry up to 27 different diseases with pseudorabies and brucellosis being the most common due to its ability to be spread through livestock and common household pets.


What do feral hogs eat?

Feral hogs are smart and opportunistic omnivores – meaning they feed on plant and animal matter in addition to being able to play the role of a scavenger. They are largely indiscriminant in their feeding habits and eat both vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Approximately 85 percent of their diet is believed to be composed of vegetation (including crops where available). For crops, they annually cause more than $50 million in damage to Texas agriculture and all manner of plants (even young trees) – and are opportunistic predators of reptiles, amphibians, ground-nesting birds and small mammals. Feral hogs also have been documented preying on turkey and quail nests and, in some areas, major predators on turtle nests.


What’s the latest on the war against them in Texas?

According to an article in the Houston Chronicle entitled, “Texas Losing War on Feral Hogs” (July 2013):

“Despite taking millions of casualties – an estimated 750,000-plus feral hogs have been killed each of the past few years in Texas – the non-native pigs have continued their economically and environmentally destructive march across the state, with an estimated 2.6 million of them spread across at least 240 of Texas’ 254 counties. Texas holds, by some estimates, as many as 10 times the number of feral hogs it did barely three decades ago”


What kind of foods are feral hogs most attracted to when trying to trap them?

One size does not fit all when it comes to baits. Hogs are not picky in the least. Brian uses a variety of baits, depending upon the situation.  Regardless of whether it’s his proprietary mineral pig attractant from Primos, or whether it’s one of his own custom concoctions, they all generally revolve around one main ingredient: corn.  Many other grains work, milo, rice, oats and, when added with skunky beer and left to ferment over a few days’ time, you’ve got the odor attraction. Old fish grease, catfish “stink” baits and overripe fruit and vegetables also have been used successfully. Another additional tip that folks can consider is putting diesel in the mix to stop the other animals from eating it; no coons and no deer will touch it.  A hog doesn’t care.  Brian’s other little secret in addition to food is dumping burnt motor oil on a burlap sack and wrapping it around a tree.  Pigs will come up and rub their sides on it to minimize the ticks and hog lice.  Around Brian’s ranch, every pine tree is rubbed raw. Hogs want the sap in their hide to keep the bugs off.


What can Brian tell us about current trends and populations in Texas and U.S.?

In Texas, wild hogs have been reported in 253 of 254 counties. They are spreading across the U.S. too and some states are taking precautionary actions – like the helicopter USDA-sanctioned spottings in upstate New York.  If they see a pig, they’ll shoot it. They are hoping to curb the problem before it starts. Wild pigs were first found in New York in 2008. http://www.watershedpost.com/2014/bad-news-boars-helicopter-crew-fights-ny-feral-swine


What is the tactic known as Judas Pig?

Because these animals are difficult to capture/hunt, some states are utilizing a tactic known as “Judas Pig.” The tactic involves leaving a sow alive after capturing and killing a hog pack and outfitting her with a microchip or tracking collar. When she finds a new group of pigs to join, hunters can use the GPS data and descend on the unsuspecting creatures. Despite thoughts about the lack of sportsmanship in this procedure, the goal is to eliminate the entire population of feral swine as quickly as possible. Pigs are not classified as a “game” animal that has to be regulated. They are known as a “nuisance” species, which allows hunter to kill as many, as often, as they like.


Why is it important that people hunt hogs? (from a populations management perspective)

Hogs are prolific breeders and the population is really getting out of control. It’s been said that just to stabilize Texas’ feral hog population would require removing about 70 percent of the population over a single year and continuing that level of population reduction for multiple years. That’s a huge amount to take and – to be honest – it is NEVER going to happen in our lifetime.


Tell us about what makes pigs hard to hunt?

They’re smart, for one thing, not far behind dolphins and chimps.  They’ve got a better nose than a whitetail and they’ve yet to be proven susceptible to disease.  If it’s full of bacteria and could kill a person, a hog will eat it.  I’ve personally shot a pig with .450 revolver and watched him not even flinch.  Then I shot him two more times before I knocked him off his feet.  I pulled back the hide and the bullets were trapped between the hide and the meat.  They are truly the North American Rhino.

Also, pigs are known for being very cleaver to avoid traps. They lack the flexible paws of raccoons, but are still skilled at opening gates and cages. They can jump fences almost three feet high, and they’re known for climbing on top of each other to escape higher walls. All of this makes them difficult – but not impossible – to trap.


What strategies are most effective?

Hunting them at night with night vision and thermal is very effective and they can be killed in large quantities, if the terrain allows for it. In terms of eradication, helicopters are the most efficient and effective method.

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