Monday, September 16, 2013

Pigs running amuck

It's been too long since we caught up on the wild pig problem. Recent stories have people throwing up their hands and saying there's nothing that can be done - but one fellow is setting an example, and we'll be keeping a hopeful eye on his progress.

-Campers told to lock up food and drink after feral pig goes on bender in Western Australia and ends up in altercation with cow
The animal was seen stealing three six-packs of beer from campers before ransacking rubbish bags for food.

One camper reported seeing the pig guzzling the beer before getting involved in an altercation with a cow.

"In the middle of the night these people camping opposite us heard a noise, so they got their torch out and shone it on the pig and there he was, scrunching away at their cans," said the visitor, who estimated that the pig had consumed 18 beers.
"Then he went and raided all the rubbish bags. There were some other people camped right on the river and they saw him being chased around their vehicle by a cow."
The pig was reportedly last seen resting under a tree, possibly nursing a hangover.
-Horde of Pigs Goes Hog Wild in San Ramon
"It looks like a tornado has hopped from yard to yard," Carrie Spurlock said. "We've tried to deter them, but they keep coming back."
A visit to the neighborhood by NBC Bay Area on Wednesday revealed a dozen or so front lawns looking like they had been professionally rototilled by the porcine critters destroying property in a neighborhood where home prices start at more than half-a-million dollars.
Neighbors have been frustrated with trying to get rid of the pigs. They've used pesticides to kill insects, which the pigs like to dine on. They've installed motion-sensor lights hoping that would keep the animals away. They said they've called the Department of Fish and Game but have got the runaround. And they've called a trapper, who set up 10 traps around the neighborhood. All to no avail.
-Kingwood residents might be stuck with wild hogs eating everything
"If you put a sprinkler system in your front yard and run it regularly, you are creating a hog habitat," Crenshaw said. "They want to eat grubs and bugs and all the stuff right below the soil surface.
Hogs on the hunt know what's there because they can smell it, he said.
"They will root it up and eat everything," he said. "They have now demolished what a lot of people spend good money on to have a nice-looking yard."
There's no easy way to get rid of feral hogs in an urban area, since residential hunting is illegal.
The wildlife official in that story says that trapping is the only possibility, but says residents will have to arrange it on their own, and goes on to whine about all the problems it causes once you've got the hog in a trap:
It can't simply be released on someone else's land or public land because it could have a disease that can be transmitted to domestic pigs, he said.
The only meat packer in the area that's certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to process feral hogs is in Porter.
"You have to take it to them live and they have to run tests to make sure it doesn't have wildlife diseases," he said. "If they take it, they're agreeing to have an animal on site for a month."
But elsewhere in Texas that's not stopping them:

-Hired Hog Trapper Has Three Years To Clean Out Dallas 

Trapper Osvaldo Rojas isn't a whiner, and he isn't deterred by what these animals can do to him personally:
"I've had quite a bit of injuries: stitches, a couple of broken bones," he says. "About eight pairs of boots, you name it, jeans. I just stopped buying jeans. I just wear them ripped now. There's no reason to keep buying them if they're gonna continue to get ripped, so might as well keep wearing 'em."
And he says he's got what it takes to do the job:
His plan involves placing large traps with video cameras all around the city, luring the hogs with feeding stations. Once the entire pack is in the trap, he closes the gates from his smartphone. Constant video surveillance allows him to study their behavior for days.
Rojas estimates it will take about two years to trap most of the hogs, and then the last year to capture the stragglers. He says has a strategy that sets him apart.
"It doesn't take much, but it has to do with patience," he explains. "I can sit out there for eight hours and not see anything, and I'm totally fine. It takes somebody to have patience. And a little bit of know-how."

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