Wild hogs are destructive and a super invasive species in the US. Brought in by colonial Europeans as food, pigs soon faced a population explosion due to their high reproductive potential. They destroy anything and everything in their path, be it vegetation, property or native wildlife. They depredate crops and pretty much anything that lies in their wake. They sparked tension amongst the natives of the USA.
It is a nationwide issue now as there are 6 to 9 million hogs in the US, and they cause damage worth $1.5 billion each year. Till this day there’s a persistent problem with the steady growth in the number of feral pigs, and so they have taken it upon themselves to exterminate and control the hog population.
It might seem unethical in this day and age, but trapping, poisoning and Helicopter Hog Hunting are the best and only ways to lower down the number of feral pigs.
Importance of the Hog Depredation Hunts:
- Further Research on Feral Hogs and their Breeds:
Feral hogs come together in groups called sounders. Each sounder can tear up several acres of land, be it pastures, cropland, golf courses or residential lawns and gardens. Some exterminators prefer taking in the hogs alive than dead, as alive boars can serve other purposes other than being fodder. Thus, they make traps big enough to capture sounders and at times, a smaller number of pigs.
The traps are mostly electronic that can be controlled remotely as the traps won’t work if it is being operated manually. These pigs are intelligent enough to avoid the humans that so despise them. The animals that get into these traps are often used to study hog psychology and sent to certified hunting ranches.
2) Dispatch of Hogs for Meat Processing:
A 2011 law allowed anybody to shoot at these hogs from the sky as a method of extermination. Earlier state agencies were to be recruited for the extermination that cost the landowners and farmers a great deal but now after the 2011 decree; they have turned hunting into a business opportunity as they allow tourists to come and shoot at the pigs. Helicopter hunting killed 43000 boars last year, which is a lot.
These creatures being sturdy and fast are impossible to be caught when the sun’s up. They can sprint far and wide on spotting a hunter in the bushes. Thus aerial hunting is needed to get a clear view of a hog while gunning it down. The view is accentuated, and the kills are more in number.
PETA and other international nonprofit organizations are usually vehemently against this kind of brutality against animals, but the Wildlife Department strictly views feral pigs as vermin and doesn’t allow them to be sympathized with or glamorize them in any way or kind now. So, the feral boars that are hunted are sent to processing for meat.
3) Spreading of Fatal Diseases are controlled, and Ecosystem is Balanced:
Feral boars start reproducing when they grow up to six months. United States Department of Agriculture is developing humane drugs that can kill off hogs only. Brucellosis and Leptospirosis can infect them, which can be passed on to humans. Pseudorabies is found in the feral population and can affect the livestock.
They consume food rations of native wildlife as well and having no natural predators; they reign scot-free. These animals are built to be this sturdy and disrupt their ecosystem and thus needs to be eliminated.
The feral hog situation is not on a path of steady decline, but the control measures taken have clearly been pretty effective in rooting out sounders off localities.