Who knew? Ive 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.
Dont want to boar you, but heres 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. Theyve been spotted in 63 of Michigans 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 MWCs 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 youve 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 Michigans 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 hunters 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 its more likely that he would have scared the crap out of the unsuspecting coyotes.
Cougars? Check out the story in this issue. Hopefully, theyre not messing with anyone‘s golf course. Bears? Yeah, theyre 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?
Its 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.
Lets look at the bright side: if some wild hog roots around in a golf course and digs a hole or two, lets not give that pig a hard time for causing damage. That hog is stimulating our states economy by creating jobs to help fill in the holes out on the green.