2007-10-18 / Editorial

Hog hunters

An article in the November issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors written by Tracy Breen highlights some of the concerns over the population of feral hogs in the state. Fortyfive counties are mentioned as having populations of feral hogs, including Roscommon County. The article highlights the damage these animals do to farm crops and livestock and to humans.

It is legal to shoot feral hogs during any hunting season, but the article's author said it isn't an easy hunt because the hogs have a keen sense of smell and spook easily.

Feral hogs have several litters each year with up to 12 piglets to a litter. These hogs are also sexually mature at six months of age so they can populate an area very quickly.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources views these exotic animals a threat and encourages hunters to harvest them.

The feral hogs are good to eat. The females can range from 110 pounds to over 300 pounds and boars range from 130 pounds up to 500 pounds. Some of the animals have long tusks. Hunters are encouraged to take the hogs to any DNR check station to have them tested for diseases. Hunters should wear rubber gloves when field dressing the hogs.

The author also cautions hunters that although these hogs fear humans, they can reach 30 miles an hour running and often "have attitudes similar to junkyard dogs."

Because these animals are increasing in numbers and have been identified in Roscommon County, it opens another concern for people who are not armed hunters but who enjoy the outdoors. Berry pickers, mushroom hunters, campers and hikers now have another threat to contend with while pursuing their activities. Sows with piglets can be just as dangerous to a human as a black bear with cubs.

Feral hogs eat just about everything edible that they can get into their mouths. Although Roscommon County is not a big farming county, there is still plenty of food for the feral hogs, including deer bait.

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