Hunting

6 Louisiana Men Arrested for Allegedly Cheating in Two Hog Hunting Contests

Officials say the "Piney Woods Pimps" transported live hogs from Texas across state lines to the two local hunting contests, which they ended up winning
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Three men with a hog they caught during a contest.
Three of the men who were arrested are pictured here competing in the Swamp Time Hog Hunt on March 16. Photo via Facebook

Cheating in fishing tournaments has made headlines in the last few years, and it might be worth the risk to some participants when thousands of dollars in cash prizes and a new bass boat are awarded to the winners. But cheating in a local hog hunting contest to take home a few hundred bucks, belt buckles, and bragging rights? According to allegations from Louisiana game wardens, that’s what they think happened earlier this year.

On Wednesday officials with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced they had arrested six subjects for allegedly committing fraud in two separate hog hunting contests that took place in Caldwell and Bienville Parishes. They say the Louisiana men caught hogs in Texas, drove the live hogs across state lines, and then entered them into the two contests, which they won. Both contests have rules stipulating that the hogs must be caught during specific timeframes and within the state of Louisiana.

Men win first-place trophies in hog hunting contest.
The Piney Woods Pimps, which took place in the Swamp Time Hog Hunt, included four of the men who were arrested for hunting contest fraud.

Photo via Facebook

“During the investigation,” the press release reads, “agents obtained evidence that revealed the six subjects catching hogs in Texas to be used for the Dingler Wild Hog Roundup in Bienville Parish on Feb. 9-10 and the Swamp Time Hog Hunt in Caldwell Parish from March 14-16.”

The six subjects named in the press release are: Trace Davis, 30, of Longville; Hunter Webb, 27, of Pitkin; Colby Bushnell, 26, of Dry Creek; Davy Hampton, 35, of Pitkin, Nathan Granger, 34, of Vinton; and Don Pollard Jr., 40, of Pitkin. All six men were charged with hunting contest fraud and criminal conspiracy. In addition, all the suspects except Granger were charged with violating interstate commerce. Davis was also charged with obstruction of justice and Webb was also cited for hunting with a suspended license.

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Officials say Granger turned himself into the Bienville Parish Jail on June 4. They say the other five men turned themselves into the Bienville and Caldwell Parish Jails on June 7.

Davis tells Outdoor Life in a Facebook message that he did not cheat. Both he and Bushnell say to reach out to their attorneys for comment. Davis’ attorney, Cameron Murray, was unable to provide comment by the time of publication.    

Officials at LDWF did not immediately respond to a request for comment, so it’s unclear what sparked their investigation, or what evidence they have showing that the six men committed fraud. Randy Dingler, who organized the Dingler Wild Hog Roundup, and Dalton Moses, who organized the Swamp Time Hog Hunt, have both confirmed with Outdoor Life that the men named in the LDWF news release were on teams that took first place in the two contests.

“You always have somebody wanting to cheat,” says Dingler, who’s been hosting the event for 10 years. “But luckily, we got Wildlife and Fisheries, and they stepped in and did what they did. I never would have known.”

Both contests have similar rules. They involve four- or five-man teams with one or two helpers (four-man teams with only one helper in the Swamp Time Hog Hunt). The teams are each given a randomly assigned number by the organizer just before the hunt starts, and they have a limited amount of time to catch the five biggest hogs they can find. Traps and fences are not allowed, and all wild hogs must be caught with dogs. Each contestant must have a permit for transporting hogs, as the live pigs are transported in a trailer to the contest site, where they’re weighed in by the organizer.

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The two contests also require contestants to take a picture with each of the hogs they catch and send that picture to the organizer. The picture must include the team’s number, which helps confirm that the team caught the hog after they were assigned their number. It’s not immediately clear how the suspects may have falsified or avoided this requirement. Moses says that he was instructed by LDWF not to share any details about how the cheating may have occurred since the agency’s investigation is ongoing.

“This winning team had the biggest boar, if I’m not mistaken,” Dingler says. “And they also got first place. They had the heaviest weight of five hogs.”

The first-place team in the Dingler Wild Hog Roundup won custom belt buckles. The same team also won the heaviest boar side-pot worth $180 dollars (or $36 a person), along with additional custom belt buckles and 20 sacks of feed that were donated by one of the contest sponsors.

The Swamp Time Hog Hunt had bigger payouts. Moses says the first-place team in that event was the Piney Woods Pimps, which included Davis, Webb, Hampton, and Pollard Jr. They had the heaviest five-hog stringer and took home a cash prize of $1,558.

Moses says the Piney Woods Pimps also won the side-pots for biggest boar, which paid $1,100, and biggest sow, which paid $800. This means that each of the four contestants took home approximately $814.50, along with trophies and bragging rights.

Trophies for a hog hunting contest.
The first-place trophies that were awarded during the Swamp Time Hog Hunt.

Photo via Facebook

On March 16, the final day of the Swamp Time Hog Hunt, Davis made a post on Facebook thanking Moses for organizing the contest.

“Everyone that hunted did a fine job” Davis wrote. “With a little luck and God’s Grace, we managed to get in the money out of 14 teams on this one.”

Moses emphasizes that the men are innocent until proven guilty, but he says the allegations that have surfaced are unfortunate. And if they’re proven to be true, they’ll cast a pall over a community event that was meant to be a family gathering and a celebration of hunting traditions. Yesterday, Moses commented on a Facebook post and said he’s already heard from one of the subjects, who offered to return his winnings. He said he hasn’t heard anything from the others yet.

“We don’t do polygraphs and all that stuff, but it’s probably something we’re going to do in the future,” he tells Outdoor Life. “In the past, we’ve made this work with an honor system, but I guess they proved you can’t do that anymore.”