Legendary hunting grounds await hunters within an hour of Houston.
Story and Photography by Harold Gunn
I don’t need an excuse to hunt wild pigs. Hunting feral hogs is as much fun as it gets. Due to their rapidly growing population in Texas they provide unlimited targets of opportunity statewide. They are smart, adaptable, tough, and can provide quite a rodeo if you are on the ground searching for one that may have been wounded. Plus, they are amazingly tasty table fare when processed into chops, roasts, pan sausage, link sausage, and tamales.
My love of hunting these pesky porkers was multiplied by a recent opportunity to pursue them at the legendary Pierce Ranch located near Wharton, south of Houston. The history of the ranch alone is worth the trip, but I became even more intrigued by the fact that this sprawling 32,000 acre working ranch is only one hour away from the fourth largest city in the nation.
The Pierce Ranch was founded in the early 1800’s by Able Head “Shanghai” Pierce and as the ranch history states, “One of the most colorful cattlemen in early Texas history.” How Pierce acquired the name “Shanghai” is a matter of speculation. Author J. Frank Dobie reported that it was due to Pierce’s resemblance to a banty Shanghai rooster — long-legged, short-panted strutting around clucking orders. He was famous for his lung power and it was widely stated, “He could stand on the ranch house porch and yell orders to his workers a mile away at the rail station.”