On August 28th, 2012, hogzillas turned up acres of farm land, rutting for food. On the day of the feral pig, be as greedy as a wild boar to get your summer's fill in the remaining 22 days.
The wild boar and its four footed relative, the feral pig escaped from the farm sty, causes fifty million dollars in damage in Texas, where the wild boar has exploded in population. The population hasn't reached the tipping point in Michigan yet, but the legislature of Michigan has shut down heritage hog ranches in Michigan. In April 2012, Dave Tuxbury needed twelve men with guns to shoot his population of wild boars. The team had to make four forays to get the job done.
I was talking to a seasoned hunter last night, a man who manages a game preserve in Hesperia, Michigan north of the White River, and he was telling me of organized hunts in Texas, all of them condoned by the law, where hunters are given machine guns and taken aloft in Helicopters to mow down wild boars. Michigan has allowed hunters to take the feral swine in any season, for any reason, in any number. A family in Dalton Township, a few miles north of Muskegon, shot an amazing number of wild pigs invading their yard. I realize that story hit the Mlive papers as long ago as Spring 2008. I haven't heard of any additional action in Dalton since.
Boars eat all kinds of food, treating farm lands as a smorgasbord. Walnuts, acorns, raspberries, road kill, potatoes, and lizards all delight the hungry boars, who will forage three times a day, morning, late-afternoon and night. The dwindling light of August only leads the male boars to make more testosterone, so it's almost wild bacon making time.
When I lived in Texas, I read avidly about the wild boar. The Texans have made a rodeo out of the battle between hunting dogs and wild boars. A good hunting dog can yap with impunity in the tusks of a wild boar and hypnotize the animal. The dog's owner takes the opportunity to slip behind the boar and stab upward into the boar's heart, thrusting a blade between the belly and the rib cage. I am sure there's plenty of crossover from the ranks of hoggers and noodlers, who catch monster catfish on their fists.
Tigers are a primary predator of wild boars in Eurasia. Tigers will track groups of boars, and Tiger take the hind most.
Tigers avoid mature males boars, and tigers have died on the sharp tusks of the male boar. There's plenty to eat when a tiger takes a boar. Two hundred pounds is a good size for a boar; however, a boar shot in the Ardenne forest in France weighed in at 550 pounds. Russian boars discussed in early hunting journals have weighed in at 710 pounds.
I have yet to see the War Against the Boar, the tag line for American Hoggers. A former Texas Ranger and his family rid ranches of the invasive species. I know that a meat packer in Fort Worth pays a good price a pound for a fresh field dressed wild boar, so the Campbell family must be making money both ways, bounties for each hog eradicated and checks from the butcher. The meat has a ready market in Europe. At Olivia's, part of Verdoni's on Seminole in Muskegon, Wild Boar sausage sells for almost nineteen dollars a pound. I have a fantasy of hunting wild boar in the Texas grasslands and panning for gold along the forty-niner trail in California's High Sierras. You'll read the daily reports in this blog, so stay tuned.
I have talked about my wild boar fantasy with more than one woman, and the ones who have a culinary background seem taken with the idea of hunting and butchering wild board. I think I'm going to gear up at Cabela's and ask one of them out on a safari, especially the woman from the Culinary School in Muskegon.
Mother Earth News has the story on the enforcement of the Invasive Species Order against Heritage Hogs:
The Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) is the wild ancestor of the domestic pig. As shown in his natural habitat.
Richard Bartz, Munich, MAKROFREAK