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Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Coming Up Against Feral Hogs

How To Recognize The Signs Of Feral Swine In Your Area

By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher

            If you want to talk about monsters in the woods, these guys are a lot scarier than Bigfoot.
            There are plenty of predators in the woods to watch out for, and feral hogs aren’t often the first ones you think of when you’re hiking, hunting, or camping. But you do need to be careful and aware of the signs of these highly dangerous animals in your area.

            First introduced in America by explorer Hernando De Soto in the 1500’s where they were allowed

 free range around the camps, feral hog populations are spreading fast. Once only a serious problem in the southern states, the scourge is now spreading to the northern and western states. It’s so bad in fact, that individual state governments like Missouri are declaring war by allowing open season on them most of the year; asking that hunters and anyone who encounters them to kill them on sight. 

            According to the Missouri Department of Conservation a feral hog is: “Any hog, including Russian and European wild boar, that is not conspicuously identified by ear tags or other identification, and is roaming freely on public or private land without the land manager’s or landowner’s permission.”
This is a very broad definition. Any swine running wild, including abandoned pets and released livestock could fall under the category of feral swine.
            All swine are highly intelligent and capable of surviving on their own without help from humans.  They are one of the few domestic animals that can.  And here are some important facts to note:
   Feral hogs are highly adaptable to any terrain, situation, or climate
   They reproduce rapidly. Females become sexually mature at 6 months and can birth to a large brood (3-8 piglets) twice a year.
   They have very few natural enemies except humans. Only young, small hogs are in much danger of predation by other animals.
   They will eat ANYTHING including worms, lizards, small mammals, and the young or eggs of ground nesting birds...and YOU if they get the chance.  

                    Quite often, farmers, hunters, or hikers don’t know hogs are around until they see one or discover extensive damage from them. While hunting or hiking private and public lands that are known for feral swine populations, there are some telltale signs of occupation:
   Signs of rooting. This looks like an area of ground has been completely turned over and destroyed by hogs looking for food under the dirt.
   Nests or bedding areas.
   Rubbing spots on trees or posts.
   Wallowing spots or hollowed spots of mud or dirt where hogs have been rolling.

            But what do you do if you encounter one face to face?
            Underestimating a hog’s speed and ferocity can be a very deadly mistake.  Here are some tips to understanding swine behavior.
   Dominant males show certain signs of dominant behavior and aggression; an authoritative gait, head held high, and all the signs he is poised to stand his ground no matter what. And the size of the hog doesn’t matter in this case. A dominant small hog can be nearly as dangerous as a dominant larger one. If he lowers his head and stares you down, he’s ready to strike if necessary and should be considered VERY dangerous. That is, if he isn’t already charging in your direction.
   The hog without dominant traits, that stiffens his legs and appears to lean forward is not so confident, but no less dangerous if approached. He’s afraid. And a fearful hog, like any other fearful animal,  can be much more dangerous than a dominant one. 
   Beware of a hog that is slobbering. When a hog poises himself for confrontation, he will pop his jaw which is said to sharpen his long, pointed cutter teeth. This causes a foaming in his mouth which is a telltale sign he’s more than ready to fight.
   Be wary if you have the animal cornered. He may be standing still, assessing the situation. But don’t mistake this behavior for a surrender. He’s desperate and he’s weighing his options for escape. And he’ll do anything to accomplish that.

            Bottom line: BEWARE! Feral hogs are among the most dangerous wild animals you’ll encounter in the woods. Don’t EVER underestimate them. It’s advisable in known swine-occupied areas to carry a weapon powerful enough to bring a large one down if necessary. And if you take your dogs with you out there, please consider their protection too. *******
 Here's the feral swine mapping system link:

©The Crypto Crew 2012

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1 comment:

  1. I wonder if a well placed shot with a hollow point bullet from a .45acp would stop one of these things in it's tracks? Say a shot to the eye?


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