Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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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