Earl Trent of Harmony had hunted unsuccessfully for hogs for years – until July 20, when he harvested a beast of a wild boar. Known locally as the “Grey Ghost” the hog, which weighed close to 500 pounds, made the fatal mistake of looking directly at Trent, who placed a 100-grain .243 slug directly between its eyes, ending the legend that roamed a Dillon County, S.C., tract that is part of Cherokee Run Hunting Lodge.
Tom Nauman, manager of Cherokee Run, has been guiding for close to two decades; he said he’s never seen anything quite like this hog. Its signature grey color, along with its sheer size, made the boar stand out in the few trail-camera photos that captured his image among thousands of photos taken over a period of several months.
Trent was one of the first hunters to book a trip for boar after Cherokee Run recently acquired the 1,200-property on the Pocosin Swamp, and he was the first to take a hog on the land. Nauman had showed him photos of the big, grey hog, which sealed the deal.
“I knew I might not ever see that hog in person, but I wanted to hunt that hog,” said Trent, who shot the boar at 75 yards with a Ruger American .243 with a Redfield 3x9x42 scope, sitting in a 15-foot ladder stand mounted to an oak tree.
“We’d been walking around the clearing next to a feeder earlier in the day, and we threw out some bread and cakes and stuff. I sat in the stand about 6 p.m., saw a few deer at first, then at 7:45, the hog walked out to where we’d thrown the bread and stuff out,” said Trent, who had killed a number of deer over the years at Cherokee Run but had never taken a shot at a hog. “He stayed in the same spot, but kind of moved his body a lot for about 5 minutes, then he turned to face me and paused just long enough for me to shoot him right where Tom had told me to.”
Nauman (704-301-7950) was hunting in a stand about 500 yards from Trent, and when he heard the crack of Trent’s rifle, Nauman texted him, asking if he had taken the shot. Trent replied that he had, and that a big hog was down. When Nauman asked if he was excited, Trent, who was sure this was the hog he’d specifically targeted, answered that he was shaking too bad to reply.
After noticing a mark on one of the boar’s shoulders, Trent asked his processor to check it out when he butchered the hog. The processor found a mushroomed .223 round that never found its mark after traveling through nearly 3 inches of hide, fat and shield. Nauman said that’s a good lesson for other hunters; an increasing number of hunters use an AR-15 chambered in .223 to hunt hogs, but it’s undersized for big hogs like the Grey Ghost, especially if the hunter has anything other than a perfect headshot.