June 3, 2023

Is The Humane Society of the United States Introducing Wild Hogs to Maine?

This was sent to me by a reader from Maine:



Wild Pigs Competing With and Destroying Wildlife Habitat

wildhogsToday a reader sent me some information of reports found in the media about wild hogs. CNN carried a story about the economic losses and destruction of the feral pigs.

From agricultural fields and farmland to golf courses and playgrounds, no property is off limits to these chubby eating machines. From 2 to 6 million feral hogs are wreaking havoc in at least 39 states. Texas is said to be home to over half of the country’s feral hog population.

I was also reminded that in Maine just about a year ago, a Eurasian wild boar, was shot and killed raising the questions of how it got there and what this may mean to the State of Maine in future dealings with feral hogs.

All of this got me to thinking and asking myself some questions: “I wonder what the interactions are between wild hogs and deer? Texas seems to have more than it’s share of wild pigs and plenty of deer. I wonder if there is any correlation? I suppose it’s possible that pigs could improve deer habitat or destroy it or nothing at all.

I also wonder how wild pigs and coyotes/wolves would coexist?”

I’ll see if I can find at least some answers to my own questions.

According to the Texas A&M University website(TAMU), wild pigs are a problem in many ways: they destroy habitat; they force the changing of habitat; they compete with other animals, including deer; they don’t play well together with other wild animals; and, they spread 15 different kinds of diseases, some of which are harmful to humans.

TAMU states that wild pigs compete with deer for food sources.

Approximately 85% to 90% of their diet is believed to be composed of vegetation (including crops where available) and 10% animal matter.

This vegetation, it should be noted, readily includes the consumption of mast crops, i.e. acorns, and other various nuts that deer thrive on. Specifically, wild hogs compete with deer for food, supplemental foods (public feeding, including game crops) and when wild hogs move into an area, deer commence a mass exodus.

It seems that history tells us that wild hogs first began appearing in the Southeast and they have spread considerably to many states at varying degrees. Official established populations of wild hogs can be found as far north as New York; which prompted another question. How adaptable are wild hogs to cold weather?

I found some information on Berry Man Institute website.

Because wild pigs are highly adaptable, suitable habitat occurs throughout much of North America. Since their introduction in the southeastern United States, wild pigs have expanded their range to many other regions of the country, particularly in the past few decades. The Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) has monitored wild pig populations since 1982 and has documented a steady advance into new regions (www.uga.edu/scwds/dist_maps.htm); currently, pigs exist in at least 39 states (Fogarty 2007, Gipson et al. 1998). Although many have presumed that pigs were a southern species and that harsh winters would limit their expansion northward, pig populations now exist in the northerly
climates of Michigan and North Dakota.

With this limited information, it would appear that with an unchecked growing expansion of wild hogs throughout the U.S., the future of deer and other species, doesn’t bode well, especially in states like Maine that is experiencing extreme difficulties in maintaining a deer herd. Will the expansion of wild hogs destroy those deer herds that are problematic now? Will wild hogs reduce the deer herds in other states? What kind of long term effect will these feral animals have on habitat, i.e. vegetation, forests, fields, agricultural crops and other native wildlife? One has to wonder, with the destruction to the landscape these animals are capable of, what effect will this have on water quality in those places where game fish require cold, clean water. Wild hogs can destroy trees because of their “rooting.”

Their rooting can accelerate leaf litter decomposition causing the loss of nutrients which can impact seedling survival of trees. Their rooting behavior can damage seedling tree growth and survival. Longleaf pine seedlings seem to be especially vulnerable to wild pigs. Research suggests that the pigs may actually root up seedlings of various tree species and chew the root system to obtain nutrients. They rub against individual trees (pines) that are capable of producing a lot of rosin (presumably as they rub to remove ectoparasites on their skin). Rubbing of selected pine trees has resulted in girdling of some mature trees which can eventually kill the tree.

And just as important, if not more, what kinds of diseases are other wildlife and humans going to have to deal with now and in the future?

I’m not sure the public understands hardly at all the seriousness of this issue. Where are the so-called conservationists on this issue? This sounds like a classic environmentalist’s dream problem to deal with, and yet, where are they?

Perhaps in states like Maine, the wild hogs will move in and destroy and/or run off the deer and moose, making for big game hunting and trapping of wild pigs. THEN, the environmentalists will step in to put a stop to the senseless killing of wild pigs for sport. Isn’t that about how it goes these days?


Wild Hogs Coming to Your Back Door Soon

It seems that little is or can be done about stopping the spread of feral swine throughout this country. I think part of the problem is that people don’t realize there exists a problem or that it will, more than likely, wind up in your back yard eventually if not all ready. I also think there’s a certain disconnect between the people and wild hogs mainly because too many people probably don’t understand where all the pork they eat comes from……other than the grocery store.

With an estimated population in the U.S. of anywhere between 4 and 8 million hogs, the question isn’t if but when will wild hogs come to my house and destroy my lawn and garden, tear down my fencing and kill my pets? Kill my pets? It would only be fitting for environmental groups to work to put a stop to the needless killing of wild pigs. No, I’m not kidding.

Frank Bruni of the New York Times, pens a lighthearted approach to the realities of the swine life. But he does ask where the environmentalists are on this topic due to the ecosystem destruction caused by these millions of wild hogs. Bruni does mention that these pigs are, “throwing the earth out of balance.” Being that he writes for the New York Times and is only repeating the garbage he was taught in school and from all his other environmentalists friends at the Times, is it really worth trying to educate him about the “balance of nature?”

Texas A&M University answers probably any question you might have about feral hogs.

One of the last places some might think of to find wild pigs is in a cold climate like Maine. Well, officially New York State has too many pigs already and according to Maine’s Downeast Magazine, there’s about a population of 500 wild piggies in New Hampshire. The magazine warns Maine residents that those pigs might cross the border. And then what?

But, isn’t it too late to worry about if, they come? Maine’s Kennebec Journal had a story four months ago about a “Eurasian wild boar” that was shot by a person trying to stop the wild pig from killing his domestic pig.

This article states that officials are “mystified by the presence of a wild boar.” Really? Maybe officials should visit the Texas A&M University web page that explains about where feral hogs came from.

The first pigs were brought into what is now the continental U.S. into Florida in 1539 by Hernando de Soto. Explorers used these pigs as a traveling food source. After wandering around the southeastern United States in search of gold, his exploration party brought 700 pigs into what would become Texas in 1542.

Oh, so that’s how it happened. I mean seriously. Mystified?