KNIFE Magazine Field Trial: TOPS Wild Pig Hunter (from our May 2023 issue)

This article is from the May 2023 issue of KNIFE Magazine. We are in the process of getting the “Purchase Online Membership” option up and running by the start of Blade Show on Friday. In the mean time, I needed to freshen up “Above the Fold”, so we are bringing this article to you gratis.

Field Trial
TOPS Wild Pig Hunter
By M. Willson Offutt IV

The TOPS Wild Pig Hunter model was designed by TOPS President Leo Espinoza expressly for those who hunt wild (also called feral) pigs with a knife. Perhaps we should ask why; this is not a large demographic segment of knife users. Many geographic areas lack a population of wild pigs. Many geographic areas lack a population of hunters willing to close in to knife range with a wild pig who has just been chased and cornered. (Factoring loss of nerve and physical injuries, how many do it a second time?). There is a reason they are called “wild.”
The Maasai hunt lions with spears and pangas, and I recognize there exist dedicated groups of specialty hunters. I interviewed a professional hunter paid by the Department of Natural Resources to cull wild pigs, to understand how they are hunted. He emphasized two components: a pack of hounds and a lever action 45-70. Wild pigs are the descendants of escaped domestic pigs, some crossed with Russian boar, which differ in size and temperament. I hunt with hounds; they are loved and protected like children. A trained hound is worth thousands. Vets charge the same as pediatricians.