I recently had a conversation with a friend in southern Texas, and he related that his father’s crops had, once again, been decimated by a pack of feral hogs, and that he wished his dad’s place was isolated enough that the Natural Resources folks could just come in with choppers and military-grade firearms (he mentioned Barrett .50’s) and go after them efficiently. This is apparently routinely-done in less-populated areas of the State.
This led to some thought and a bit of research. It seems that feral hog populations are a multi-million (if not closer to a billion) dollar ‘nuisance’ all across the Southern half of the country, and the problem is spreading fast. (Michigan already has a problem and has issued a ‘shoot on sight’ order for feral pigs – it doesn’t only happen where it stays warmer.)
In addition to massive crop damage, these critters also spread brucellosis and other diseases to domestic livestock, and have few compunctions about injuring, killing (and probably eating) anyone or anything that gets in their way. The main difference between ‘Little Buttercup’ in the pig-pen, and those wild boar that killed armored knights in the Arthurian tales is a year or so in the wild.
The problem is apparently made worse by the infusion of European and Russian strains in the 1960’s by entrepreneurs who wanted to create a bigger ‘adventure’ for paying hunters on their preserves. These are tough, resiliant animals, not the cute piglet you remember from taking your kids to the petting zoo. Those tusks can ‘unzip’ a human like a sword in a samurai movie. One sow can have 10-15 offspring in one year.
What can be done? Not much. If you raise pigs, make sure you have good fences in place and maintain them. Dispose of ‘garbage’ wisely. Consider where you want to locate your compost piles. Pigs define the term ‘omnivore’. If it’s organic matter, they can probably eat it. In a TEOTWAWKI situation, you may need to consider some larger caliber firearms. At least get some more .12ga slugs. If you shoot a big feral hog in the head or upper shoulder with a 5.56, you will just annoy him, and make his disposition even worse. Stock up on heavy rubber gloves and protective gear for butchering any you may kill, and learn to cook ’em the way your grandma told you to do. They are most likely carrying SOMETHING. Don’t make yourself sick. If you have neighbors who raise pigs, offer to help out w/fences, etc, in return for some sausage. If ‘old Mr. Smith’ gets sick, or dies, you could have a serious issue on your hands in a year or so. Keep an eye on it.
Not trying to be an alarmist, at all (“Oh NO!!.. Mutant Zombie Swine!!!), but if you think about a potential problem now, it is less likely to surprise you in the future.
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