A hedgehog plays golf.
“I’m just a guy in the middle of the woods catching pigs.” (Drue Wagner)

Strangest State: 18-Hole Hog, Spike the Poodle’s Big Adventure, and Fowl News

Weird news from far-flung Texas.


A version of this story ran in the November / December 2019 issue.

SAN ANTONIO // A 400-pound feral hog roamed free on a South San Antonio golf course—until management called in the big guns. Wyatt Walton is co-owner of Lone Star Trapping, which bills itself as “the #1 feral hog removal company in Texas.” He posted photos of the massive catch on Facebook and later told Insider that though most hogs can be captured with cameras and electronic traps, this one was so smart that two assistants and three dogs were needed to corner it. “I’m just a guy in the middle of the woods catching pigs,” Walton added.

CEDAR PARK // After a city council member ranted online about witches and Satanists, a local coven held a peaceful protest. “My prayers and intercession against the witches and satan worshipers begins at 3 a.m. on this full moon of Friday the 13th,” Cedar Park City Council member Tim Kelly wrote on Facebook. “The power that is in the shed blood of Jesus the Christ trumps your soul stealing sorcery.” In response, about 30 members of the Coven of the Corvid hosted a “peace ritual” in a city park, reports Hill Country News. There was also a Christian counterprotest, in which about 10 people prayed and “blew ram’s horns throughout the entirety of the event.”


HOUSTON // The frenzy over Popeyes’ wildly popular new chicken sandwich got out of hand in southeast Houston. When a group of people was told the sandwiches were sold out, a man “became upset and pulled a pistol and demanded a chicken sandwich,” Houston Police Department Lieutenant Larry Crowson told the Houston Chronicle. “The manager again informed them they were out of sandwiches.” Police are still reviewing surveillance footage.

WICHITA FALLS // After being denied a Guinness World Record for his giant duck decoy, an artist was embraced by his community. The Wichita Falls Times-Record-News reports that Ralph Stearns was disappointed when Walley the Wood Duck didn’t win the approval of the bigwigs at Guinness. Stearns received the fowl news in a letter explaining that the title of Largest Duck Decoy would be “too specialized.” But in an online fundraiser, fans donated more than $2,000 to cover labor and maintenance costs; Walley now floats on a local pond, amusing passing motorists.

EL PASO // Spike the poodle is home at last. More than a year after he was spooked by Fourth of July fireworks and ran off, the 9-year-old dog was found safe in Stockton, California, 1,100 miles away. Someone found the dog and brought him to veterinarian Lisa Boyer, who used his microchip to identify him. “I kind of wish his microchip had, like, a little video recorder, because we just have no idea where he’s been for the last year,” Boyer told KCRA. A volunteer pilot flew the pup home for free.

BASTROP // Game wardens nabbed a man for cheating in bass fishing tournaments. Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Field Notes newsletter reports that the repeat offender had his fishing license revoked, was required to return more than $3,000 in prize money, and got jail time. In some catch-and-release tournaments, competitors are evaluated using photos taken on the water; the cheater held a cut fish tail atop his catch, “using his hand to cover the questionable area, to make the fish look longer.”

SANTA FE // There may or may not have been a monkey—or a chimpanzee, a raccoon, or Bigfoot—on the loose in Santa Fe, but the internet sure wanted to believe. According to the Galveston County Daily News, police received two credible reports of a monkey sighting in the same neighborhood, two days apart. After searching the treetops via drone, they failed to find the animal. A flurry of news reports followed, as well as a parody Twitter account. “Aside from the great peacock escape of 2016, I don’t think Santa Fe has dealt with a search on such a national stage,” Bayou Animal Services Director Sarah Haywood told KHOU.


We have plenty more stories from the “Strangest State.” Got a local oddity or some small-town news to share? Tips are welcome at [email protected].

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