Wild pigs are an increasingly common sight in Georgia, and the creatures can be notoriously ungrateful guests. Although tasty and popular as game for hunters, many of the Peach State’s parks find themselves with an unwelcome population of wild pigs that are not fussy about leaving a mess. Fences and other deterrents are effective in keeping pigs out of small areas, but as wildlife officials will admit, trying to keep larger plots of land unmolested can be difficult, if not futile.
Park managers like Bill Giles are now turning towards a smellier solution: mountain lion urine. According to The Florida Times-Union, Giles manages the Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation State Historic Site, and he is tired of seeing pigs dig up trails and close down portions of the 1,200-acre property. However, Giles said that he did not initially have a lot of confidence in the powdered mountain lion urine he bought to deter pigs. He was convinced when pigs stayed away from the park, until heavy rain washed away the powder.
What makes the urine of mountain lions more effective than that of other predators is how the animal itself behaves. Skip Theobald, owner of Pee Mart, explained that it has to do with the cougar’s diet and geographical location. Prey animals like deer and pigs are not likely to fear animals that do not usually hunt them, or recognize their smell. Theobald said it is for this reason that pigs are especially wary of mountain lions, as opposed to wolves.
“They both attack big game. A mountain lion or a pack of wolves can both bring down deer. But they tend to have particular tastes, and mountain lions love wild pigs,” Theobald told OutdoorHub. “Wolf urine is a close second, while coyote urine doesn’t affects pigs all that much. Mountain lion urine seems to work great for javelina as well.”
Theobald also added that the liquid form is much more effective than the powdered deterrent that Giles purchased previously. The park manager might have come to same conclusion, as he recently purchased jugs of the strong-smelling material.
“This is triple-distilled mountain lion urine,” said Giles, describing his latest purchase. “I’m not sure who has the job of triple distilling it, but it’s not something I want to do.”
There is no substitute for the real thing, and Theobald explained that mountain lion urine generally comes from animal sanctuaries or zoos. For those who want to apply the deterrent on a garden or lawn, however, he says that the powdered form does have its own benefits.
“Liquid is the most effective,” Theobald said. “Powder is popular because if you put it on your grass or plants and something like that, it won’t burn like straight liquid will.”
Giles hopes that his triple-distilled jugs will go far in preventing more pigs from entering the park, but he does not intend on spraying the liquid on all 1,200 acres. Instead, he will be applying the deterrent where the pigs have been seen the most.
“The only problem is it attracts mountain lions so you shouldn’t get any on you,” Giles concluded.
File image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Association