Hog Blog Gear Review – Wild Boar Man Soap

May 19, 2017

I think I said, in one of my rambling apologies for letting this page sit idle, that I’d write about things that strike my fancy whenever they strike my fancy (and I have time/energy to write).  Well, I just received a package in yesterday’s mail that struck pretty good.

It’s worth backing up, and sticking some of the story in here, first.  It’s all relevant to wild hogs, hunting, and such… so bear with me.

Several years back, Texas started allowing trappers to sell feral hogs to certified processors.  The processors could then sell the meat commercially.  This “lemons-to-lemonade” approach shouldn’t have been particularly novel, but since the feral hogs aren’t farmed under USDA-approved conditions, they’ve always been sort of a challenge for regulators (a long, and convoluted tale).  At any rate, the new branch of the industry grew slowly at first, but as the foodie craze brought game meat back to restaurant menus, the potential for a hot market became undeniable.

Of course, from a practical perspective, it’s a no-brainer.  You’ve got a huge, out of control population of feral hogs.  Sport hunting simply doesn’t make an appreciable dent, so trappers offered a more effective solution.  Previously, trappers may have utilized a few animals, but the majority of their take was simply killed and, “disposed of.”  By opening a commercial outlet for trapped hogs, the incentive to trap increases, which results in more feral hogs being removed from the wild… a result that pleases farmers, ranchers, and habitat managers.  It’s hard to argue with that angle, and the State of Texas agrees.  Apparently, Louisiana is seeing the bright side too, and is working on their own set of regulations to allow the commercial processing and sale of feral hogs.

Back to the Wild Boar Man Soap, and the subject of this review… 

While feral pigs don’t have as much intramuscular fat as their domestic kin, they can have a pretty good coat between the muscle and the skin.  This fat doesn’t always taste so great (depending on what the hogs have been eating), and it usually gets trimmed away.  What do you do with all that waste?

Back in “the old days,” excess hog fat was used for soap.  That’s the idea that struck an entrepreneurial chord with John Michon.  Make soap.

The whole story, in his words, is on the company website, but in short, that’s exactly what he did.  After some research and experimentation, Michon is turning out soap, as well as lip balm and beard oil.

Michon was kind enough to send me a sample of the soap and a couple of tubes of lip balm.  Honestly, I can’t bring myself to use the soap yet because I love the packaging so much!  It’s very nicely done, and even if I were just looking for a novelty gift, this would fit the bill.  It also smells wonderful!  The soap is infused with cedar oil (ash juniper), a choice that evokes the Texas Hill Country origins of the product.  It’s heady, with a definite masculine, near -muskiness, and it reminds me of long days with a chainsaw, clearing that cedar at my old, Texas place in Camp Wood… as well as warm afternoons in the deer blind, tucked up in the cedars.  My guess is that it would be a good option for hunters, since the scent is (to my nose at least) completely natural.  I’m guessing this is at least part of the reason that the soap is packaged as the Hunter’s Bar.

Cedar oil is an essential oil which has some reputed health properties, from anti-bacterial/anti-fungal, to insect repellent.  It is also great for your skin.  For folks with dry, itchy skin (eczema, dermatitis, etc.), the oil provides relief and conditioning.  While it’s legally challenging for Michon and Co. to claim medicinal health benefits, it’s likely that using this soap will benefit folks with those conditions.  There’s a lot more talk about essential oils and their benefits, but I’m not well-versed enough to go there.

In addition to cedar oil, there are only a handful of other ingredients… all listed on the side of the package.  The coolest thing about the ingredients list is that the only “scientific” word is the Latin name of the mountain cedar, juniperus ashe.  Everything else is simple to pronounce and understand: wild boar lard, cedar tea (made from Hill Country well water and Texas Mountain Cedar leaves), castor oil, lye, and Texas Cedarwood oil.  Just like grandma used to make… if grandma lived in the Hill Country.

Compare that, by the way, to the ingredients of the common, store-bought soap: glycerin, stearic acid, tetrasodium EDTA, BHT, sodium stearate, tetrasodium etidronate, sodium 1-methyl 2-sulfolaurate, sodium chloride, water, sodium, sulfate, sunflower seed oil, petrolatum, mineral oil, sodium tallowate, titanium dioxide, disodium 2-sulfolaurate, coconut fatty acids, sodium cocoate and cocamidopropyl betaine, fragrance.  It just doesn’t sound as comforting, does it?

Michon calls his product, “Boarganic.”  Here’s the explanation from his website:

“Certified Boarganic” means our soaps and products are made with USDA inspected truly wild boar.  Wild animals cannot technically be considered “organic” or be “certified organic” due to the guidelines and limitations imposed on certified organic products.  We’ve taken “certified organic” to the next level.  USDA inspected truly wild boar combined with other top quality “certified organic” ingredients means “Certified Boarganic”. Take it to the next level with “Certified Boarganic” products from Wild Boar Man Soap.

It’s a pretty cool product, and an excellent idea.  I hope to see more states follow the lead of Texas (and now Louisiana), and make commercial processing of feral hogs a viable industry.  It just makes sense.  In the meantime, support a new industry and check out Wild Boar Man Soap for yourself!