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The pig running in the distance then? No. 2.
That night the guys gather in the 1920's-era log hunting cabin that has been in Wright's family since the 50's. Under the watchful eyes of friars and peasants painted on the cabin's fading wall tapestries, they raise their glasses and celebrate the day's hunt. They'd heard reports of pigs in the area all year, seen all season the swimming pool-sized chunks of dug-out earth, but they hadn't known until they saw one in the flesh: those pigs are for real. They're here. And hunting Up North would never again be the same.
Nearly a year later, bow season this time, the trio sits in the same cabin. Hunting gear is cast around the living room floor and furniture. Maxon's two eldest sons - ages 15 and 18 - lounge on the sofa. His daughter, Serena, age 6, plays with toys on the floor as her freckle-faced brother, Stephan, age 8, shoos away the two dogs that yip and noodle around her. The gang's just finished breakfast - pancakes and wild pig sausage.
Recalling that weekend last year, the trio reminisces about their hunt. The day after they'd gotten Maxon's first pig, Wright brought down a second one, plus two piglets. The following weekend, Smith felled a 300-odd pounder.
Smith rocks back in his chair and describes how the black giant walked right into his shooting line. "About 25 yards away, it halted, sniffed the air - knew something wasn't right. I got him head on," he says, pointing his finger at his own forehead. "The slug went in high, took a lung - which is where you need to kill these things - otherwise they run forever." He pauses. "Which, being unfamiliar with hunting pigs, I didn't find this out until afterward, doing some research on the Internet."
He laughs. "You're not accustomed to chasing pigs around Michigan, you know?"
Note: This article was originally published in January 2008 and was updated for the web February 2008.