By Leslie van der Merwe
The ugliest pig you will ever see is a warthog. Bushpigs are not glamorous, and giant forest hogs must have myopic lovers. But a long forehead, wide mouth and jaw, facial warts and a grey leathery skin with spiky hair is not exactly Miss Piggy’s greatest dream. Thick callouses on their front legs, where their wrists would be, and a hard snout caked with dirt from all the rooting. And then those triangular-shaped bottom tusks, rapier sharp, that have been the death of so many dogs. And leopards. And cheetah.
But warthogs have beautiful ivory. Those massive tusks curling up have every hunter’s heart skip a beat. And the bigger, the better. They did not get big by chance. These old boars are a challenge to hunt, because they are not stupid. At the first whiff of danger they are off, tails straight up in the air.
I have hunted and shot the old boars, including those with one tusk half the size of the other.
Many years ago I bought a Ruger Super Blackhawk revolver in 44 Magnum, and carried it as a backup on buffalo and countless bushveld hunts.
I shot a warthog, at 15 paces, in a maize field. He was happily chomping on a corn cob when the 240-grain lead bullet ended his life. The farmer was happy. So was I. No one asked the warthog.
Spuddy, my son’s Maltese-cross Jack-Russell (plus who knows what) always helps on a rifle hunt, his nose close to the ground, following a blood trail, absolutely fearless.
I have shot many warthog, and have my share of trophies. They say you can’t eat a trophy. I say you can eat a young, corn-fed warthog. Juicy, tender and delicious.
A signed copy of the book is available from www.gamechef.co.za
Warthog Fillet with Onions and Red Peppers
This is a simple, one-pan recipe that brings out the sweetness of the onion, tomatoes and the peppers. Adding the garlic towards the end of the cooking process gives the dish a kick.
2 warthog fillets (backstrap can be substituted)
1 large onion sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 yellow pepper sliced
4 cherry tomatoes sliced in half
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 knobs butter
1 pinch oregano
salt and black pepper
Slice the warthog fillets into medallions, and season with salt and pepper. Using a skillet or heavy frying pan, add the butter and when hot fry the medallions, until they colour. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Add a slug of olive oil, and when hot add the onion and peppers, and sauté. Return the meat to the pan, add the oregano and garlic, and reduce the heat. Cook through, adjusting the seasoning.
Serve with a starch of your choice.