Boy bags beast

Countless environmental studies have bemoaned the devastation and destruction wild, feral hogs have wrought upon Florida’s priceless, fragile ecosystems. From saw palmetto scrub to wetlands to upland pine stands and every habitat in between, these non-native omnivore generalists are wreaking havoc from Pensacola to Jacksonville, and all the way down to the southernmost tip of the mainland peninsula. Worse still, hog populations are perilously high and climbing rapidly – wrecking habitats and displacing ever more native wildlife as they spread. But there’s at least one less hog to worry about this year, thanks to a young local hunter. Sneads Elementary School student Maddox Gooden bagged this all-black beast of a sow over Christmas break. At around four feet, four inches tall, 7-year-old Gooden pales in stature beside the great swine, yet the fearless young woods-warrior reportedly downed this 180-pound hog with a single, lethally accurate shot. Read more about Gooden’s holiday hog hunt – as recounted by Gooden’s grandfather, News-Herald columnist Jim Glass – on this week’s Sports and Outdoors page.


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