Hogs Are Running Wild in the U.S.

BY Herschel Smith
1 year ago

Glenn Reynolds post a link to hunting feral hogs from a helicopter in Texas.  Bacon, Glenn says.  Nope.

My hog gave me shoulders (what you would know as the ham), ribs and backstraps (what you would know as pork tenderloin).  A lot of all of it.  Feral hogs are too lean to give you bacon.

Anyway, feral hogs aren’t just a problem in the South as the link alludes to (” … an invasive species in the southeastern United States“).  Where do they get these “journalists” anyway?  That’s very old and outdated information.

Based on this report, I pointed out that “They reproduce faster than lethal removal can take them out, they’ll adapt to their surroundings, they’ll dig up the ecosystem to the point it looks like a rototiller came through, they’ll kill indigenous game, and they’ll come after humans too.”

They’ve adapted to the harsh, cold weather in Canada.  If you consider these like any other animal you’ve ever studied, you’re on the wrong track.  They defy your expectations.  They’re warm weather animals.  They’re cold weather animals.  They’re nocturnal, and they eat in daylight too.  They will come after you.  They will even attack horses.  On the other hand if they see a means of escape, they’re runners and refuse to “bay up” and even the dogs can’t catch them.  They reproduce at a rapid rate, they’ll eat virtually anything.  They destroy everything around them, and are costing millions of dollars in damages to farmers.

In fact, the Northwest is bracing for a hog invasion.  They’ll get it too, of that you can be sure.  Better journalists than the one cited above have begun to catch on.

Today, around six million feral swine run hog wild in at least 35 U.S. states, where they can grow more than five feet long and weigh more than 500 pounds. They’re adaptable creatures, capable of thriving in nearly any environment. For instance, the animals are also increasingly widespread on myriad Caribbean Islands and in Mexico, from the Baja to the Yucatán Peninsula, as well as Canada, where even deep snow and bitter cold can’t slow them down. (Read how feral hogs are moving into Canada and building “pigloos.”)

What’s more, females can begin reproducing at just eight months of age, and each can produce up to two litters of four to 12 piglets every 12 to 15 months. This allows the species to multiply rapidly and colonize new territory with unparalleled efficiency. Feral swine also ravage agricultural crops, and can harm people who corner them. But those outcomes aren’t what really worry experts.

It’s their diseases.

According to the USDA, feral swine can carry a litany of pathogens that could potentially spread to people such as leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, brucellosis, swine influenza, salmonella, hepatitis, and pathogenic E. coli.

But there’s another concern—new diseases we don’t even know about yet.

“Swine, in general, are considered a mixing vessel species, because they’re susceptible to human viruses, like influenza viruses,” says Vienna Brown, a USDA staff biologist with the agency’s National Feral Swine Damage Management Program. “And when those get into swine,” she says, they could “create a novel influenza virus.”

“So I would argue that our risk from swine is greater than it is from other, more traditional wildlife species, in part because of their gregarious nature, our proximity to them, and just sheer numbers.”

[ … ]

Scientists are also tracking how diseases move through feral swine in the wild. Officials in Great Smoky Mountains National Park started monitoring feral swine health in 1959, but it wasn’t until 2005 that it saw its first case of pseudorabies. Like ASF, this virus is not a threat to humans, but it can cause aborted fetuses in pigs and death in other animals, such as wild raccoons and opossums and even pet cats and dogs. (Learn more about the battle to control America’s most destructive species.)

“The prevalence increased from basically zero to roughly 20 to 40 percent, depending on the year,” says William Stiver, supervisory wildlife biologist for the national park. “But it’s certainly here, and we’ve watched it sort of migrate across the park through the pig population.”

Leptospirosis, which is caused by a bacterium, has also been found in the park’s feral swine. If left untreated in people, it can cause kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, and death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kill them when you see them.  You benefit society when you do that.  There’s the added benefit of good eating, but make sure to cook them well.

Prior:

Feral Hogs in Canada

Woman Killed by Feral Hogs Outside Texas Home

Houston-Area Suburbs Now Suffering from Feral Hogs

Hog Apocalypse in Texas

Save the Planet – Buy an AR!


Comments

  1. On February 6, 2023 at 6:17 am, jrg said:

    I wasn’t aware that feral hog have that much potential for spreading disease. That adds urgency on controlling the population of them. I know that the Texas ‘Autobahn’ (State Highway 130 on right side of San Antonio – Austin) has a reputation for feral hog crossing causing some vehicle damage.

  2. On February 6, 2023 at 11:23 am, NOG said:

    We have had fatalities when a car hits a hog. The biggest I have seen weighed just over 600lbs. Only good for buzzards and coyotes. If they are mostly black you won’t see them unless you get reflection in the eyes. The best eating pigs are usually those under 40-50 lbs. Any bigger and the meat smells and taste “off”. Our church men’s group frequently hunts them and butchers the smaller one for the meat. We give it to those in need and it helps the farmer/ranchers. At least till the lawyers shut that down. So we “don’t hold a church hunt” anymore. We still gather away from the church and will continue to do what is needed. For some of the older or disabled its the only meat protein they have. I hate lawyers.

  3. On February 6, 2023 at 1:45 pm, Bryce said:

    As the saying goes…a feral pig may have a litter of 8 but 12 of them survive

  4. On February 6, 2023 at 3:11 pm, Woody said:

    In Kentucky, the gov’t wants you to report sightings and then they will come out and inspect, put out trail cams. and then trap the pigs for removal. No idea how long the process takes.

    In many places, wild hogs are also a revenue generator for the state, hunting license, game tags and for farmers in the form of trespass fees to hunt their property.

  5. On February 6, 2023 at 5:28 pm, Ron said:

    About 70 years ago my Dad hunted and trapped in the swamps of Oklahoma and Texas. He frequently took me along. My most terrifying early memory is a feral hog attacking out of the brush a few feet away. A necessary hunting accessory was a tough dog who immediately gave the hog something else to worry about.

  6. On February 6, 2023 at 5:56 pm, Georg Felis said:

    With the danger of African Swine Fever, any farmer within a county of a hog farm should be hunting down these wild critters and killing them until there are none left. Let the state get the idea they can make a few thousand dollars selling hunting licenses and they’ll *encourage* these destructive pigs right up until something like ASF blows into the state and they’ll go from making a few pennies on hunting licenses to losing tens of millions in revenue from the massive culling and sterilization.

    Kill ’em.

  7. On February 6, 2023 at 6:12 pm, Ronsonic said:

    I’ve suggested the new sport of Florida Biathlon. Each competitor leaves at dawn with a mountain bike and the firearm of his choice. Whoever brings down the most tonnage of pig by the following dawn wins.

    Actually, everybody wins.

  8. On February 6, 2023 at 9:24 pm, Eric Elsam said:

    Lay off Glenn Reynolds. He’s one of the good guys.

  9. On February 6, 2023 at 9:47 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @Eric,

    Of course he is. He and I exchanged a number of notes last night discussing hog hunting methods.

    He’s a multiple-stop choice for me every day. I don’t go long without seeing what’s been posted there.

  10. On February 6, 2023 at 11:15 pm, Steve Kellmeyer said:

    Shooting individual hogs is a VERY bad idea. The only way to eradicate feral hogs is to capture an entire SOUNDER, the whole thing, at one time. If you just kill individual hogs, they break into multiple sounders which all go their separate ways. You turn them into quicksilver and they spatter everywhere.

    There are ways to catch whole sounders at once. Do that. You get more meat for the poor, you actually eradicate the population.

  11. On February 6, 2023 at 11:27 pm, PGF said:

    @ Steve Kellmeyer, I’ve seen spiral traps, where they walk in following the smell of bait. When nothing goes wrong in the trap with dominant hog that goes first, the rest go in soon after. But with no bait to follow, they can’t reason their way out of the configuration.

  12. On February 7, 2023 at 10:25 am, Steve Kellmeyer said:

    Google “catch the whole sounder’ and you will find products like PigBrig, BoarBuster and the like.

    Individual sniping may be fun, shooting from helicopters inflates the ego, but the actual work of eradicating hogs involves mass trapping.

    This is not a fight that can be won one bullet at a time.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Animals and was published February 5th, 2023 by Herschel Smith.

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