Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Who let the hogs out
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Who let the hogs out

Robert Downes - February 16th, 2009
Put this in your ‘One More Thing to Worry About’ file: Apparently, there are hordes of vicious wild hogs roaming the Michigan woodlands, and these pigs are in serious danger of becoming an “environmental disaster” for our state.
Who knew? I’ve been tramping around the forests of Michigan for 50 years now and count myself lucky to see an occasional woodchuck or a porcupine. But a band of up to 20 wild hogs? That would be like spotting an elephant.
This news comes from the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy (MWC), based in Bath, Michigan, which is calling for a bounty to exterminate wild hogs.
Don’t want to boar you, but here’s the skinny on a big pig of a problem, according to the Conservancy:
Apparently, these hogs are the descendants of Russian wild boars which have escaped from commercial game ranches over the past decade. They’ve been spotted in 63 of Michigan’s 83 counties and are “reproducing rapidly.”
The impudent hogs cause crop and forest damage and carry a pseudorabies virus which is “a huge threat to Michigan‘s domestic swine industry, which is already reeling from high grain prices and low market pork prices.”
Who knew there was so much drama in the pig industry?
Dennis Fijalkowski, director of the MWC, advocates going to war with the hogs. “Today, we are calling on hunters to help us kill all wild hogs in Michigan before they become an environmental disaster for our state,” he says in a release.
Fijalkowski first became aware of the hog menace while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army, “where citizens have battled the animals for hundreds of years and where a hunter was killed by a wild boar two months ago.”
And get this: “Nationwide, wild hogs conservatively cause $800 million worth of damages annually to crops, golf
courses, lawns and forests by their
feeding and rooting habits. And they are also vicious predators of livestock,
deer fawns and ground-nesting birds,” the MWC says.
Anyway, the time to unleash hell on the hogs is now, before Michigan goes the way of Texas, “where the wild hog population bomb has already exploded.”
Like, we‘re talkin’ hog-wild here.
The MWC’s press release sounds like it would make great material for a killer hog movie on par with Anaconda or Jurassic Park 2, but it probably wouldn‘t be so funny if you were pinned down in a gulley with only a sling-shot for protection, surrounded by feral pigs with a score to settle for all the pork chops and sausage you’ve enjoyed through the years. Better practice your tree-climbing skills, folks, because you just never know...
Question: if wild hogs are causing at least $800 million in damages, that means that Michigan’s share is $16 million (if you divide by 50 states). If this is the disaster the MWC claims, wouldn‘t it be wise to shut down these commericial game ranches that unleashed this horror in the first place, and send them the bill?
Answer: pigs would fly before such a politically-incorrect solution would be put forth. Imagine the bee flying up a hog hunter’s dress at this suggestion.
Closer to home, there are tales of a coyote infestation in Northern Michigan, with the critters making off with pet cats and small dogs. I know of one hunter who recalled lying in the grass while a pack of coyotes crept past all around him. He was afraid to jump up for fear the coyotes would attack him; though I think it’s more likely that he would have scared the crap out of the unsuspecting coyotes.
Cougars? Check out the story in this issue. Hopefully, they’re not messing with anyone‘s golf course. Bears? Yeah, they’re out there too, probably causing millions of dollars in damage to our forests by eating berries, pooping in the woods, and tearing up valuable lumber.
What next? Runaway baboons? Escaped crocodiles? Killer whales in the Great Lakes?
It’s comforting to know that there actually are a few wild animals still kicking around the sterile woods of Northern Michigan, and that not every creature has been turned into roadkill or exterminated for the crime of merely existing.
Let’s look at the bright side: if some wild hog roots around in a golf course and digs a hole or two, let’s not give that pig a hard time for causing “damage.” That hog is stimulating our state’s economy by creating jobs to help fill in the holes out on the green.
 
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