SAVANNAH, Ga. - Roger Hosfelt travels the world hunting big game, but he's especially proud of a trophy he recently bagged in Georgia - a monstrous wild pig that, he says, tops the legendary Hogzilla.
"He looked like a big ol' brown bear. That's a supersize pig," said Mr. Hosfelt, of Shippenburg, Pa.
Hogzilla has made headlines worldwide, been featured in a National Geographic documentary and inspired an upcoming horror movie ever since a hunter in south Georgia killed the giant swine in 2004.
Experts estimate it weighed 800 pounds and measured up to 8 feet long.
Mr. Hosfelt, who says his hog was 1,040 pounds and 9 feet long, isn't the first person to boast he's killed a bigger pig.
In January, Bill Coursey, of suburban Fayetteville, said he shot a 1,100-pound wild hog in his neighbor's yard. Last month, an 11-year-old Alabama boy and his father said the boy shot a 1,051-pound wild hog, which he called Monster Pig, on a hunting trip.
Mr. Hosfelt, who killed his pig March 10 at a hunting plantation west of Savannah, has dubbed his hulking ham Boss Hawg.
Keith Egan, who has led hog hunts on his 3,500 acres for the past decade, said it required two shots for Mr. Hosfelt to kill it. To weigh it, they had to load the hog into the bed of his pickup and drive to a nearby truckstop.
They weighed the truck with the pig in back, unloaded it and weighed the truck again. The difference between the two - Boss Hawg's alleged weight - was 1,040 pounds.
It's tough to root out the truth behind these half-ton hog stories. In each case the hunters buried or butchered the carcasses before they could be weighed.
Claims these pigs were truly wild, rather than farm-raised, are likely hogwash, said Kent Kammermeyer, a retired Georgia Department of Natural Resources biologist who has studied feral hogs in the state.
Monster Pig, it turned out, had been sold to a hunting plantation by an Alabama farmer who raised the hog and called it Fred.
"A hog can't get that big in the wild, it takes so much food day-in, day-out to grow that large," Mr. Kammermeyer said.
Mr. Egan said he's certain Boss Hawg was wild because he didn't buy the pig and there's no pig farms near his land. But he said he sets out corn in feeders and grows potatoes and peanuts to fill their bellies.
The man who made Hogzilla famous, Alapaha hunting plantation owner Ken Holyoak, also suspects most of Hogzilla's rivals likely grew up on a farm. But not Hogzilla, he insists, judging by its huge tusks - the largest measuring nearly 1 feet.
"I have them locked up in the safe," Mr. Holyoak said. "That's the only proof I've got that that's a real wild hog."
It's proof enough to make Hogzilla the largest North American trophy in the record books of the Safari Club International, which has tusk measurements for 1,080 feral hogs, said Doug Luger, the records manager for the hunters organization.
Mr. Luger said Hogzilla's left tusk measured 17 5/8 inches long and 3 inches in circumference. Tusks provide a more permanent means of judging a hog because they don't decay.
According to Mr. Egan, the tusks on Boss Hawg measured about 8 inches.
No matter. When Mr. Egan makes his next annual trip to Harrisburg, Pa., to woo clients at a hunting show, he plans to share his booth with Boss Hawg - stuffed, mounted and on loan from Mr. Hosfelt.
"I'm 100 percent proud of it," Mr. Egan said. "We're going to put it all over our booth and say, 'Come hunt with us at the home of Boss Hawg.'"