Monday, February 20, 2012
More specifically wild boar. Ever bump into one? I haven’t which is kind of surprising once you know that the wild hog population in the US is out of control. There are estimated to be nearly 2 million in Texas alone, with another half-million in Florida.
Wild hogs, or feral pigs have been found in 40 states so far. Amazing considering they are not native to North America. The first pigs were brought by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. Then, in the early 20th century, Russian wild boars were released in North Carolina, California and Texas. I have no clue why but apparently someone thought it would be a good idea. Um, no. Estimated damage from wild hog destruction is in the $800 million range. Normally they are only seen in rural areas but some in Texas are encroaching on the suburbs of Dallas.
In case you don’t know, these little piggies, which run in packs called “sounders” with as many as 30 animals per, will eat and kill just about anything in their path. They eat field crops, gardens, golf courses, birds, chickens, turkeys, turtles, lambs and fawns. And, since they root, they cause ecological damage to streams, creek beds and ponds.
A wild boar can have as many as three litters a year, with up to 10 piglets in each. Many states have now legalized pig hunts to try and control the ever expanding population. Hunters claim that the meat from these wild swine is sweet and flavorful, especially the smaller, younger animals. Believe it or not, wild pigs, though leaner than their domesticated counter part, can easily reach 250 pounds with some reported to weigh as much as 800 pounds.
Perhaps it’s time to take up hunting. Even a smaller one could stock my freezer for a year or more. No, perhaps not. I think it would be better for me to get to know someone who hunts and offer to cook. Anyone interested?