Big South Fork is well known for its trail riding and hiking and, among kayakers and whitewater rafters, for its Class IV and V rapids. It is also one of only a few National Park Service units legislated to allow hunting.
Wild Boar is a popular big game species and an extended season for hog hunting runs from January 20 through February 28 in both Tennessee and Kentucky every year. A $5 permit is required to hunt hogs during this season in Big South Fork in addition to a valid hunting license.
One of my favorite trail rides is to the Charit Creek Hostel. Most riders do not know that the hostel was once a hunting preserve called "The Hog Farm" that operated in the early 1970's to accomodate hunters in an old long hunters' camp in the pre-park Big South Fork backcountry. Over the years, pigs escaped the reserve, interbreeding with the Russian Boar that had been brought into the area for hunting and with the few indigenous Razorback Hogs.
A group of hogs is called a "sounder."
Wild boar are wary by nature, with poor eyesight but an excellent sense of smell. They are known for their vicious temperament and razor-sharp tusks. At present, they are considered a nuisance and are few in number as eradication efforts here have lowered the total number to fewer than 500 in the entire park. It is illegal to use dogs to hunt hogs or to bait them, but there are authorized hunting access routes where hunters may drive ATV's while actively hunting boar or other big game.
Wild hogs usually stay deep within the park's boundaries, well off from the beaten path and they are nocturnal by nature. The Big South Fork's terrain is very rugged which makes hunting on foot difficult, with bluffs and boulders, deadfalls and thickets of overgrown underbrush.
There are outfitters in the vicinity of Big South Fork, such as the Clarkrange Hunting Lodge, which opened in 1955 and is the state's oldest and largest commercial hunting operation, for those who would like to give it a try but who don't want to go it alone.
For information about Big South Fork real estate or horse properties in Jamestown, Tennessee, go to www.trailridersrealestate.com