A hog on a rampage led to an impromptu hunt for deputies from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office. The incident occurred last Thursday when residents of Casco Township reported a very large and aggressive feral pig in the area. It was also apparently in the mood for some property damage, as it had recently rammed through one homeowner’s fence and allowed her horses to escape. At roughly 600 pounds and sporting six-inch scything tusks, the pig was capable of doing a lot of damage—and not just to property either.
OutdoorHub called the sheriff’s office and confirmed that the pig was put down by deputies. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
The pig’s huge size—as clearly seen when the pig was put in the bucket of a tractor—is a testament to Michigan’s feral pig problem. Although the wild pig population in Michigan is not as pervasive as it is in some other states, the state Department of Natural Resources estimates that the animals have already spread to at least 72 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Currently, biologists believe there could be well over 5,000 feral pigs in Michigan. That may not seem like a big number, but keep in mind that in 2011, there were only 340 sightings of the animals. Three decades ago, there were none. Wild pigs breed rapidly, with each sow producing an average of 12 piglets every year. At that rate, experts say that to maintain a stable number of pigs, 75 percent of the overall population has to be harvested every year.
That is a tall order, and Michigan officials are hoping to stomp out feral pigs before they can get entrenched. The state has since declared the animal as an invasive species and encourages hunters and landowners to kill the pigs wherever they are found. Any person with a concealed pistol permit (CPL) or valid hunting license may shoot the animals on sight if they are on public land, or private land if permission is given beforehand. Landowners, even those without a CPL or hunting license, may kill feral swine on their own property.
“Feral swine are a problem for two main reasons—they can host many parasites and diseases that threaten humans, domestic livestock and wildlife; and they can cause extensive damage to forests, agricultural lands and Michigan’s water resources,” the DNR stated on its website.
Wild pigs have also been known to compete with and even prey on certain game animals, such as deer. You can read more about that here.
Image courtesy Allegan County Sheriff's Office