Hog hunter helps the environment … and himself


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One wild hog provides several months of meals for Viera hog hunter John Lisbeth.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of John Lisbeth

Viera hunter John Lisbeth has the perfect recipe to help the environment while helping himself to some seriously tasty meals. When he has the hankering for the lean, mean taste of wild hog, he goes hunting for the invasive creatures on the west side of Lake Okeechobee. 

“The meat is very tender and tasty,” Lisbeth said.

Lisbeth’s hunts help the environment by decreasing the wild hog population. Wild pigs were introduced to Florida in the 1500s when some of the livestock of Spanish explorers escaped and made their way across the state. The creatures, which can reach a weight of 150 pounds and be as long as 6 feet, wreak havoc in all 67 counties in the Sunshine State. Their omnivorous habits leave areas looking like plowed fields.

When Lisbeth was stationed by the military out west, he hunted pronghorn antelope and coyote. When he retired to Viera, he decided to give hog hunting a try. Every couple of months, he gets up at 3:30 a.m., gun and cooler in hand, to head to Okeechobee where a dune buggy will take him to the hunting grounds as sunrise approaches. Then, the sitting begins.

“You sit there for hours, nice and quiet, because hogs can hear very well,” Lisbeth said.

“You sit there and you watch the deer, bobcat and the other wildlife. Just seeing a hog is very hard to do.”

Should the hogs not cooperate, Lisbeth’s guide will let loose the hounds that will try to track and corner a hog in the brush for Lisbeth to shoot.

“Unless I get a good, clean shot, I won’t shoot,” he said.

When everyone in the hunting party has bagged their hog, guides skin and quarter the animals.

“I finish butchering it back home,” Lisbeth said.

His favorite hog recipe involves onions, spices and the meat slowly cooked in a crock pot for 12 hours. A full-grown hog will feed Lisbeth for months.

Beyond the thrill of the hunt and the chance to spend some time in wild Florida, Lisbeth likes the fact that he is helping the environment.

“One of the reasons I hunt is to help keep hog numbers down because they’re so destructive,” he said.