In the eyes of sportsmen, New York State DEC has made another blunder. The choice to wild boar hunt and trap has become illegal to the public as of April 23, 2014. In October of 2013 It became illegal to import them. On September 1, 2015 it will become illegal to possess them.
It's no big secret that hunters are the first line of defense when it comes to reducing numbers of invasive species. There are downsides to leaving such a task to the public but they are far less than letting a handful of state workers attempt it. They have done the research though and fully recognize what we are up against. The wild hog or Eurasian Boar is extremely hard to control. Like idiotic politician's, you can get rid of one and there will be two more there to take it's place. How do you deal with such an insidious pest? It seems impossible to rid the country of such a destructive beast without the help of citizens. The state has a plan and I sure hope it works. I personally see it as lighting the fuse to a pig bomb, but I hope I'm wrong.
To be a good hunter, trapper or nuisance animal remover, you must first understand the species you choose to pursue. You must then have an organized plan and group large enough to get the job done. Hunters have and will always be the first and best line of defense when it comes to the eradicating species like wild hogs. It has a lot to do with numbers, but also has to do with the incentive the hunters receive, to get the job done. Education is also super important, being that people may not realize how destructive the animals are to the native landscape. In this case I believe it was a complete blunder to not use the resources at hand and join forces.
The state claims that they don't want hunters shooting the hogs, because it will disperse the animals. The theory is if you bust the group up, that they will disband and create new smaller groups. It was stated on the DEC web page that they won't regroup. I say that's a bunch of hog wash. All pack or flock animals use scent and or sound to regroup after being broken up. It's likely that the animals find one another, more often than not. It's common practice for hunters to break animal groups up, in an attempt to intercept returning members, as they attempt to regroup. We most commonly use this technique while fall turkey hunting. Being that turkey have no problem regrouping, I can't believe hogs won't do the same. Considering that turkey do it entirely by sound and that hogs have an incredible sense of smell and are capable of vocal communication, I simply wont buy into that theory.
There are far more down sides to having the state take the reigns. Let's start with the fact that they are asking the hunters and landowners to locate the animals. While this may seem to be a good idea, I can't help but chuckle a bit. You don't trust them to do the job, but you ask them to do the hard part and locate the animals. The problem with this is that many won't report and may actually protect the animals. The objective of the state is to locate and catch the entire group in a trap. They tried that in New Jersey and were only able to trap three hogs. When they decided to hold a hunt and allow hunters to do the job, 56 hogs were harvested, which they believed to be approximately half of the population. Imagine if there were a $2,000 bounty on each hog. How many more would have been harvested though such an incentive? Repeat this hunt a few times a year and the problem would either be reduced immensely or go away all together. Being that in 2015 it will be made illegal to even possess a Eurasian pig, many upset, fenced in hunting preserves could just open the gates and let their animals run free just to snub the system. A lot of work to get rid of a pig. How bad are they any way?
The Eurasian wild pig is a cancer on the landscape. They are beyond destructive. They eat almost anything from crops domestic and wild too, frogs, eggs, hatch lings and even deer fawns. They are like furry vacuums that also tear the rug up. They dig for roots and insect larva, which destroys land by the acre. It is said that a single hog can destroy up to 11 acres of wetland in it's lifetime. Considering that a sow or female pig can have it's first litter of piglets at six months and can have from two to 12 up to three times a year. Prolific breeders is an understatement. To add insult to injury, they are extremely violent and regularly attack people, farm animals and pets.
It's no big surprise that the state wants to completely eliminate them from our landscape. I just wish that they would have devised a strategy, that includes the millions of licensed hunters. I fear by going it alone, the state may be giving the animals time to dig in. Only time will tell, but there will be an absolute group to blame if things don't work out. Myself, along with nearly all hunters prefer hands on conservation, rather than hands off. The fuse has been lit, all we can do now is sit back and wait for the pig bomb to go off. Good wishes and be sure to call the DEC if wild hogs are spotted.