BROWNWOODNEWS.COM - Brownwood FFA members were treated to a visit from local television star Jerry Campbell of A&E Network’s “American Hoggers” during their meeting on Monday night when he came to speak to the club about life hunting feral hogs, making good choices and learning to trust in God.
Brownwood FFA president Jordan Senkirik was able to secure Campbell as a speaker when she happened to meet him while selling Brown County Fair Association memberships in her quest to become this year’s Miss Brown County Fair Association. When she asked Campbell to speak at the FFA meeting, he was more than happy to come make a presentation.
Campbell told the kids how he went from not knowing how he was going to make a better living for his family to praying to God and receiving an unexpected answer. He stated that three men were considered for the television series and that in the end, he and his family was selected and will soon be in negotiations to complete a third season.
“About two months before "American Hoggers" came along, I started praying to God that he would help me find a way to make a living with something I know how to do,” said Campbell stating God had provided a “worldwide television show.”
The television experience for Campbell has been quite unique. He stated that the hunts are real and that the family has been blessed to see some of Texas’ most beautiful ranches including the Sands Ranch, a 5600 acre ranch near Fredericksburg where the series will soon film for next season. He also stated that his wife will also join the cast this coming season of the show.
When asked why the series never shows the Campbell family hunting in the winter and if they hunt all year, Campbell explained that he never takes his dogs out during deer season for fear of losing them when there are hunters near, but that in real life he does hunt all year round. He said that taping usually takes place in the late spring and summer because of preparation for the show including working through liability and legal issues at each ranch being cleared through attorneys before taping.
Campbell said that hunting in the summer is rough. He explained that the heat is hard on the hunting dogs and him.
“I know there’s a devil in Hell because I see him come up in the east and set in the west every day,” Campbell said.
Campbell told the FFA members that he does not have an exact count of how many hogs his family kills each year, but that “it’s a bunch.” He explained that he didn’t feel like it was cruel to kill hogs in great numbers because they are killers of young animals and small animals of any kind—even humans, and that they cost ranchers thousands and thousands of dollars each year. One hog he hunted and killed was found to have killed 75 goats, taking out 1 goat per day, which cost the rancher $7500 or more. Campbell stated that most hogs that are killed are found to have a fawn or other baby animal in their stomachs. He explained that they will eat anything.
“These hogs are omnivorous, they would even eat a human baby,” said Campbell. “They are like a land shark.”
Campbell recounted hunts he has guided with movie stars and important owners of corporations. He stated that he has even played a few roles in movies thanks to his renowned hunting and contacts he has made through the years. According to Campbell, he is being cast in a role as a farmer in an upcoming movie about John Wesley Hardin.
“I always dreamed of character acting and that is just what I am doing now,” said Campbell who explained just “being himself” has finally paid off. He encouraged the FFA members to “always think for themselves and be themselves.” He also encouraged them not to drink or do drugs.
He stated that the show has led to more than just acting, as they now have promotional items such as t-shirts, making personal appearances, and soon there will even be an "American Hoggers" action figures line.
“It’s completely turned our lives around,” Campbell said of the series. “You can’t go anywhere without everyone knowing who you are and wanting signatures.” He stated that he doesn’t mind though, because he knows that it is the viewers who make his family’s success possible.