Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kurt Smith, Pig Hunter

Sometimes the best part of the story is something you don’t see on TV.

There were reports of a fugitive on the loose in West Valley City. 130 pounds, dark complexion, probably a little smelly. A large pot bellied pig. Several months prior, Animal Control had confiscated several pets from a home and this was the one that got away.

But now the pig had reemerged from hiding. Residents saw it sleeping in the hay and playing with the dogs. Dog food was disappearing. Chickens were vanishing.
But so far, the swift and nimble pig had eluded the authorities.

Acting on a tip, photographer Kurt Smith and I scouted a neighborhood just off Highway 201. There, in a field behind a small ranch, was our pig.

Slowly, cautiously, we approached.

Slowly, cautiously, it sauntered in the opposite direction.

“He sees any people,” animal control officer Milton Buker said, “And he kinda knows what the game is.”

Kurt grabbed a few shots using a tripod and his telephoto lense. Then he decided to employ his crack tracking skills and give the pig a run for its money.

He took off on foot, the pig took off on its tiny little pig’s feet, and the race was on.

An Earl Scruggs soundtrack was playing in my head.

Kurt held the camera at pig butt level and raced through the brush. The pig almost galloped, slowing only to cast nervous glances back in the direction of the fast-approaching news media.

Eventually it disappeared into the trees.

He never got within cow pie tossing distance of the animal.

It was Kurt Smith versus the pig. And the pig won.

I wish I’d had a camera.

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