Area man kills 400-lb. hog in Mark Twain Forest

Eddie O'Neill

Robert Rainey Jr. comes from a long line of hunters. For more than 50 years, his family has set up deer camp each November in the same spot in the Mark Twain National Forest, not too far from Newburg.

His grandfather hunted in these woods and his dad taught him how to hunt.

Rainey shot his first doe in 1974. He was 13 years old.

This past November Rainey's hunting tradition continued as usual; well, almost as usual.

It was just before dark when Rainey heard a loud, unfamiliar sound.

"I was on a ridge, and all of a sudden, I hear what sounds like a bulldozer coming up the hill," said Rainey. "First I thought it was a bear. It was coming at full steam and then I realized that it was a hog. Once I figured that out, I shot it three times. They are good eating, but tough to kill."

He radioed back to his hunting partners, his son, Chris Rainey, and his grandson, Erik Rainey, to come take a look.

"I said, 'Hey boys, we got dinner,' " Rainey said with a laugh.

Dinner was an understatement. A month-or-two-long feast would be a more appropriate description.

"Thank God that it died on a ridge," said Rainey who has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 34 years. "We were able to drag it out to a Forest Service road and then haul it back to camp in a pick-up."

Back at camp, it took the whole hunting crew to pull it up on a tree and weigh it.

"My son has one of the vertical-hanging scales and it tipped the scales at 400 pounds," Rainey told the Daily News.

This was not the first time that the Raineys had killed hogs. The Missouri Department of Conservation encourages hunters to kills feral hogs because of their destructive and dangerous nature. Among the problems, noted by the Department of Conservation, is the fact that feral pigs spread disease to people and pets, as well as destroy habitat and young wildlife.

"The year before we got about seven pigs," Rainey related. "Nothing, however, this big."

He added that a 400-pound hog equates to around 200 pounds of pork.

The hog feast began the morning after the kill when Rainey's son went home, mixed it with deer meat and made sausage. He returned to camp with breakfast to the delight of his father and son.

"It was delicious," Rainey said.

As is the custom each year, Rainey gave all of the meat to his son. "I think they might still be eating it," Rainey said in jest.

And ... as for the deer hunt ... Rainey got an eight-point buck and his son got a doe.