Monterey hunters get fancy in hunting down hogs
MONTEREY — Nobody can see Jody Greene and Jeff Goeggle when they take to the woods in the pitch-black night, but they can see everything crystal-clear.
Armed with a helmet with night vision goggles, rifles with thermal and night vision scopes and plenty of ammunition, Greene and Goeggle are on a mission to erase hogs from farmer’s fields.
The two, along with a few friends, make up Double G Hog Control, a company that is thriving as the hogs continue to fall.
“Two years ago we killed 420 hogs,” Greene said. “Last year we killed 400, and so far this year, we’ve killed 55. We have photo proof of every hog we kill because the numbers we were killing, people just didn’t believe us.”
Both Concordia Parish natives, Greene and Goeggle were dog hunters before beginning to dabble with advanced technology.
“We had been around dog hunting our whole lives,” Greene said. “But one day I got to looking through some night vision equipment and decided I wanted to use it. Then, I just started killing hogs on my place with the night vision.”
While Goeggle continued to run dogs, it wasn’t long until the conversion was made.
“There was a place where a farmer had ground next to state owned land, and the state didn’t allow the dogs to go on that ground,” Greene said. “That is where the hogs were staying, so Jeff told the guy he had a buddy with night vision. I had been asking him for a long time to go with me and he wouldn’t but he finally did and we killed the hogs. And it wasn’t a week later and Jeff had his own equipment.”
Goeggle admitted he quickly fell for the sport.
“Whenever he convinced me to try it,” he said. “I went hog wild with the deal. We’ve always been friends, but this has made us exceptionally close friends now.”
The duo got their beginnings hunting local farmers’ land, eradicating any hog problems they were told of. But now, they are staring down upwards of 200,000 acres that they hunt.
“We just started doing it for the people that wanted us to, and it just snowballed,” Greene said.
But it wasn’t long ago, that all this wouldn’t have been possible, simply because of the hog population.
“Around 20 years ago, you couldn’t find a hog in this area,” Goeggle said. “The first one I remember seeing in this area was in the mid 90s.”
However, the population has skyrocketed, and the two said it is extremely rare to come home from a hunt empty handed.
“Probably around 90 percent of the time that we go out, we get a kill,” Greene said. “And most of the time, we kill multiple numbers.”
The best night for the two was a whopping 18 hogs, which they’ve done on two separate occasions.
Despite having 18 in the books, Greene and Goeggle said they have done more, but a specific rule they have in place has restricted them from passing that mark.
“We never count a hog that we can’t put our hands on,” Greene said. “Even if you shoot it in the water and it sinks and you know it is dead, we don’t count it. We don’t want to be told that we aren’t telling the truth about our numbers. Our reputation is what gets us here, there and yonder.”
Goeggle, who is a farmer himself, said the driving force for the hunts is helping others, not just to kill the animal.
“These hogs are doing damage,” Goeggle said. “They’re not out there just eating a little bit, they are costing people serious money. Some people say that we are just killing, not hunting. Well no, we are not just killing. We wouldn’t want to have to kill them, but they are costing people money, myself being one of them.”
When it comes to the hunt, Double G do things differently. After driving into the area they are hunting in a completely silent electric buggy, Greene and Goeggle retrieve their guns.
“We have AR style guns,” Greene said. “The reason we have that is for the magazine capacity. When you are out there and there is a group of 30 hogs and you are standing there flat footed with no trees around, you want all the firepower you have.”
Greene said another reason is simply to make sure that they are able to kill all the hogs.
“We also have our thermal and night vision scopes,” he said. “In certain situations on a moonlit night, in an open field, the night vision allows me to see further and I can identify faster,” Greene said. “Then, in trees or grass, with the thermal, the hog can’t hide from me.”
But the hog is a smart animal, both said.
“They say the hog is the fourth smartest animal on earth,” Goeggle said.
“They have done studies on hogs,” he said. “Horses, dogs and cats, they are way down there. The hogs are on the end of the spectrum towards the dolphin. They are smart animals.”
And the two realize they have to be smart as well to get a result that they want.
“We’ve learned the technique of hunting these animals,” Goeggle said. “There is a lot of skill to it. It isn’t just going out there and shooting.”
Greene said he’s seen plenty of people try to buy the equipment and simply go out and shoot hogs, but said it is far from that easy.
“We’ve been doing this enough to where we kind of know what the hogs are doing at certain times of the year,” he said. “There is a learning curve and we are kind of the forefathers in this area. We are up a little bit on the game of how to do it. I’m not saying we are the world’s best or anything, but we’ve seen thousands of hogs and know their behavior.”
While the primary objective is to assist farmers and erase a major problem, Greene and Goeggle have also used the recent attention they’ve drawn to help others in the community.
“We are able to help a lot of charities and a lot of people,” Greene said. “And that isn’t counting all the people that we are able to give food to, as well. I would be glad to give every hog away, if someone would come and get it. We were raised not to waste and to eat everything we kill, or to make sure somebody does.”
The attention the two have drawn has also put their names and faces in places they never imagined.
“We’ve been picked up by the Associated Press and even did a small show for the Discovery Channel in Canada,” Greene said. “A lot of people approach us because of what we do, and the celebrity part of it, it is fun.”
But just like any other animal, the hogs are adapting, and Greene and Goeggle are preparing to try a new plan that includes drone flying.
“We have a company called IR Distro coming out of Michigan and they are going to put a thermal imaging device on the drone and we are going to field test it and see about finding hogs,” Greene said. “We should be able to cover a bigger area faster, which will result in more kills for the farmers and land owners. We are hoping it will speed up the operation so we can cover more areas in one night, since we have picked up more places to hunt.”
As for now, the duo is going to continue doing what they do best — kill hogs.
“We are trying to help out everyone we can,” Goeggle said.
For more information about Greene and Goeggle, check out their Facebook page Double G Hog Control, or find them on YouTube.