The C.A.S.H. Courier Newsletter

Summer-Fall 2012 Issue
A Letter to C.A.S.H. about Feral Hogs

Dear C.A.S.H team,

I read with interest your story on feral hogs. I want to share my experience with them since I've been living with them for 30 years. My first knowledge of them was when I went to a neighbor's on horseback and it looked as if the hillside had been plowed. When I asked what he was doing, he said it was the effect of wild pigs. I said, ‘We don't have any.’ He replied, ‘You will.’ Sure enough they did come and make themselves at home. The land layout is that we have a section (640 acres) and it borders our neighbor who has 3000 acres.

hog feralWe have had between 4 and 40 pigs over the years. They definitely destroy other wildlife and its habitat, they eat a wide variety of whatever's out there. We lost all our meadowlarks for a few years, and our bulb wildflowers like shooting stars, and we saw fewer and fewer snakes. We did not notice a difference in the lizard population, but oddly enough the toads, which were plentiful (they come out of their holes at dusk) have disappeared.

I have no idea if that's due to the pigs.

It is difficult to see the hills all chewed up and almost impossible to walk without spraining an ankle. I don't like the pigs being there. However, we have a policy of killing nothing, so in spite of neighbors asking to hunt on our land because they drool over the pigs out in the open, we say NO. Hunting or killing would have been a short-term policy sure to fail. The interesting thing is that some years there were very few, and if we had killed them, we would have said, 'oh that method worked.’ We were so dumbfounded as to why there were fewer some years, we even suggested they'd been taken up in spaceships.

I used to walk at night a lot and often run into the pigs; they were never aggressive.

The only time someone was chased was when a dog went after the pig and the pig went after the dog, and the dog came and hid behind the man (who jumped on an old car).

There were lots of litters we came to know. We had to train the dogs not to kill them.

They are good at finding water; we have springs and water holes that have been discovered and dug out by pigs.

The pigs have never tried to get in our gardens, although they come right next to them to eat the fallen apples from the trees outside the fence.

I don't feel much kinship with the pigs; possibly because you can't have eye contact with both their eyes at once, and I certainly miss the unplowed fields and inhabitants, but now that I've seen their numbers fluctuate so much, I don't feel like we have to "do something about it." I write this to you because you said you would be "checking into what hogs ate."

No easy solutions for feral pigs. I've also heard they are rather hard to kill because of bone structure, so this makes me believe that they suffer tremendously when hunted.

Thanks for your work,
Jen T., Glenview, Illinois.

Our land with pigs is 20 miles in from the coastline in northern California, Mendocino County.

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