Southerners and animals

Alabama Living Magazine
Illustration by Dennis Auth

Southerners, of which I am proudly one, have always had a unique relationship with animals.

However, at times you have to scratch your head and wonder, “what”?

As I did when I read several years back about a guy in Arkansas who went to visit his daughter. Just as he arrived, he heard a crash back in the bedroom. Like any good father he went to investigate, opened the door and out came a deer. It ran down the hall, into another bedroom, where it began jumping back and forth across the bed.

So Daddy did what any self-respecting father should do under the circumstances. He “entered the bedroom to confront” it. The deer, not wanting to be confronted, refused to cooperate.

After a “brief struggle,” Daddy grabbed the deer by the horns, twisted its neck and killed it.

While all this was going on someone called the police.

When the officers arrived, they found Daddy, bruised and bloody, sitting in the front yard. With the dead deer. Since there is no law against bare-hand buck killing in Arkansas, no charges were filed. There was rump roast for supper.

A country boy can survive.

However, another animal encounter didn’t turn out so well.

Probably because no animal was involved.

Seems this fellow was “estranged” from his girlfriend. Very estranged. I mean so estranged that he decided to blow her up.

Or so the police said.

The “estranged” said he was just trying to blow up a beaver dam.

To do this he put “a little bit of black powder” in a bottle, stuck in a fuse, lit it, and threw it at his girlfriend’s car. She was in it. The beaver dam wasn’t.

But the bottle missed the target, rolled back to where the “estranged” was standing, and exploded in “a large fireball,” that set the thrower’s pants on fire.

(I’m having trouble with the visuals too, but stick with me.)

The girlfriend wasn’t hurt. The other passengers of the car weren’t hurt. No animals were hurt. But the thrower was taken to the hospital burn center and from there to jail.

Although the boyfriend swore no one was in danger (“it was just a little boom thing”) the “estranged” was strangely uncooperative when the thrower’s lawyer tried to work out a plea bargain.

He got time in the slammer.

And then there’s the tale of the man in Mississippi who walked into a Holiday Inn Express and tossed a 60-pound pig over the counter.

A live pig.

The desk clerk was not amused.

Neither was the pig.

Neither were the police, who arrested the “tosser.”

According to press accounts, there was “no evidence intoxication was a factor.”

Yeah. Right.

This was not the first time the “tosser” had been charged with animal tossing. Earlier he had pitched a pig at the local Hardee’s and twice ‘possums had been thrown, though apparently by someone else.

Bewildered, the police concluded that it was “some sort of redneck thing.”

A conclusion with which my Mississippi friends agreed.

Deer wrestling. Beaverless dam bombing. Pig tossing. I’m sure our readers have their own critter tales to add to mine. And folks wonder why folks from other places look at Southerners the way they do.

Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus of History at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at


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