Ethical Questions Surround Giant Hog Hunting Trophies

THE BIG PIG and the even bigger story it launched both ended the same way--overfed and shot full of holes. It all began May 3, when 11-year-old Jamison Stone used a .50-caliber pistol to bag a 1,051-pound boar with his father, Mike, at the Lost Creek Plantation in eastern Alabama. Seemingly before the sausage was ground, there was a website (monsterpig.com), a film offer, world-record buzz, and coverage in news outlets from the New York Post to London's Daily Mail.

But as details emerged, congratulations were mixed with suspicion, then criticism. Not only had the hog been shot at a preserve (that charged by the pound for boar hunts), but it had previously been a farm animal named Fred that was sold to Lost Creek four days before the Stones' hunt. Alabama wildlife officials launched an investigation. The final determination: the hog was captive, and the hunt was legal.

With debates still going over the ethics of the Stones' actions and Hogzilla hunting in general, F&S decided to talk to the source.

"I regret that it happened the way it did," Mike Stone told us. "I never thought about whether the pig was wild or not until after the fact. And we never claimed it to be any kind of record." Stone says he was sold a "feral" hog hunt, and that the outfitter had invited the Anniston Star newspaper to the hunt, knowing something big would happen.

"This whole thing has been tough on Jamison," says Stone, adding that his son can't ride his bike down the street without hearing cruel comments, and Stone himself sleeps with a gun nearby because of the threats he's received.

"In the car recently Jamison was quiet, so I asked what was wrong. He said, 'I wish it had never happened.' I asked if he meant the hunt. He said, 'No, I just wish we hadn't told anyone about it.'"

THE HOGZILLA CHRONICLES

A TIMELINE OF BIG PIGS IN THE NEWS

JUNE 17, 2004 A reportedly 12-foot, 1,000-pound hog is shot by Chris Griffin in Alapaha, Ga., and called Hogzilla.

NOVEMBER 12-14, 2004 The town of Alapaha celebrates its fame by throwing a Hogzilla parade and beauty pageant.

MARCH 13, 2005 While filming a Hogzilla show, National Geographic learns the pig was 8 feet long and 800 pounds.

JANUARY 4, 2007 A new Hogzilla emerges when Bill Coursey shoots a 9-foot, 1,100-pound pig in Fayette County, Ga.

MARCH 20, 2007 Kirk Deeter reports on fieldandstream.com that Coursey's hog may be an escaped domestic pig.

SPRING 2007 Two films, Hogzilla: The Other White Meat Bites Back and The Legend of Hogzilla, are in production.

MAY 26, 2007 The New York Post joins Good Morning America and other news outlets in covering Stone's pig.