When the stampede arrives, who you gonna call?

Earlier Drudge linked this story about feral hogs invading a Texas suburb.The citizens are apparently helpless, because they are not allowed to shoot the hogs, and the beasts have an uncanny ability to avoid traps and snares.

Feral hogs are on a rampage in a Fort Worth neighborhood, leaving a path of destruction behind.

Merely one day after landscapers fixed Jeanie Turek's yard, feral hogs hit it again.

"I had to call him again today and say, 'Can you come back? We've been hit again,'" she said.

The feral hogs didn't stop at Turek's yard; they also damaged neighboring yards in their overnight rampage.

Turek said she has to fix her lawn each time it happens or face steep fines from the River Bend Estate's Homeowner's Association.

These animals can be extremely dangerous, but so far it seems they have only caused property damage.

I have to say, I am glad I don't have to deal with stampedes in the middle of the night.

"It sounded like a stampede of cattle just running by the side of the house -- scared me," Turek said.

Feral hogs feed at night and look for grub worms, pecans, acorns and roots, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Turek called Fort Worth Animal Services but said the agency was little help.

"They told us that they didn't deal with wild hogs and so they told us to call the police department," she said.

Of course animal control is useless, and who could blame them? They're only there to enforce licensing laws, impound strays, and catch an occasional raccoon, not tackle dangerous wild animals the size of a wildebeest.

The police are afraid of them too and hide behind the usual bureaucratese. Professional trappers aren't much help either.

But Fort Worth police will only respond to such a call if the hog is on the premises.

It's illegal for residents to shoot a wild hog within city limits.

Turek called a trapper who told her it would not make sense to have one trap at one house. He then recommended she call her homeowner's association and ask  them to put traps in the entire neighborhood.

"You hardly ever trap them all," said Capt. Neal Bieler, a Texas Parks and Wildlife game warden. "You may push them out of an area, and they may be gone for a year or two, and they could show up again."

The City Council is looking into ways to help homeowners keep feral hogs away because they have become a growing problem for the city.

But the council is concerned about how to fund a new program, as well as the amount of time it will take to implement it.

Turek said she is at a loss.

"We've got to have some help," she said. "We don't know what to do."

Well, I can offer one suggestion. When all else fails, it might be time to call in the pit bulls. For many centuries, they have excelled at hog hunting, and are called "catch dogs" by people in the business.

Catch dogs physically take hold of the boar, typically seizing the base of the boar's ear. Once the catch dogs have physical control of the boar, they will hold it down by the head indefinitely until the hunter arrives. The hunter then comes in from behind the boar, and dispatches the boar with a knife or spear. Catch dogs are typically "Bully" breeds such as the American Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and other molossers such as the Boxer, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso and smaller Mastiff crosses.

Here's a statue from the early 1900s:

Catch_Dogs_(boar_hunting).jpg

And a 14th Century French miniature:

Hog_Hunting_14th_Century.png

To most people, it's a gruesome thing to contemplate hunting hogs with dogs (to be fair, it is arguably more cruel than dog fighting), but there are people who specialize in breeding and training pit bulls for that express purpose, and I see no reason towns under invasion by feral hogs can't put "catch dogs" to use -- especially if all else has failed.

Here's a video showing catch dogs at work (which you are allowed to see thanks to the Supreme Court).

There are of course many people who find hunting hogs with dogs extremely objectionable and want to make it illegal.

Ever the politician, Coco cannot decide whether this is good PR for her breed.

My view is that hog hunting is an undeniable and important part of the breed's history, and they are still used for it, even if Coco is a more civilized urban girl who doesn't have to worry about boars stampeding through her yard. 

Still, the question remains. What are people supposed to do when feral hogs rampage? Call PETA for help?

posted by Eric on 04.13.11 at 10:33 AM










Comments

I would simply shoot 'em, the law be damned.

John S.   ·  April 13, 2011 11:39 AM

I mean the hogs, not PETA.

Wait... on second thought...

John S.   ·  April 13, 2011 11:46 AM

Seems to me that having four or five of these dogs in the neighborhood would serve to reduce the attractiveness of the neighborhood to the invading hogs.

Or, am I wrong?
.

OregonGuy   ·  April 13, 2011 12:13 PM

1.) I agree with John S., on both points...
2.) If there wasn't a "Homeowner's Association" and their interfering rules in place, I'm sure that measures would already be inplace to take care of the problem.
3.) I've met a man who catches wild hogs, down near the Florida / Georgia border (near the Okefenokee Swamp). He's a breeder, and uses them in training his georgia bulldogs. They haven't managed to eliminate any of the wild populations down there, either.

cas   ·  April 13, 2011 12:24 PM

I am far more worried about the feral hogs in DC.

A seasonal limit would fix the problem, though.

jb   ·  April 13, 2011 12:47 PM

It's not against the law to use deadly force to defend yourself from a human attack, even if it is against the law to hunt.

Shoot the hog, then tell the police you thought it was a human intruder pretending to be a pig. Go into a Texas grand jury and stick to that story and you will get no-billed. Assuming it gets that far. Most likely the evidence would disappear at the police property room as someone with rural roots turns it into sausage.

Mark L   ·  April 13, 2011 1:52 PM

(Slightly off-topic, but... would feral hogs taste gamey?)

John S.   ·  April 13, 2011 4:19 PM

They taste stronger than store-bought pork, but it is not unpleasant. My family lived in Anderson County for a while and friends would shot and share feral hogs fairly frequently. It was not bad. They are lean, however, and you have to add suet if you want to turn Benny the Boar into sausage.

In rural Texas, feral hogs are what's for dinner. Probably why they are invading the city. It is safer there for them.

Mark L   ·  April 13, 2011 4:54 PM

Try to catch up. We don't call them "feral" anymore. That's racist. They are either "undocumented" or "Pork-Americans."

Walt   ·  April 13, 2011 7:13 PM

What Mark L said (in rural FL too). Quite edible - does real well as pulled pork. WE are top of the food chain, and we need to stop being ashamed of the fact.

BTW, the reason I know how wild hog tastes is that I knew someone (now deceased - age, not hunting) who hunted them (legally...it was his job). With a pair of (totally sweet to humans) pit bulls. He got to keep the meat. Nice deal. He supplied a lot of his friends with excess.

Kathy Kinsley   ·  April 13, 2011 7:53 PM

Kathy, you, John and Mark touched on a significant point. These hogs constitute a FREE source of FOOD running around to the point where they are a danger to the public. Yet each one could feed a family for months. In the old days, they wouldn't have been running around for very long, as people would have had a double incentive to hunt them.

The fact that what was once basic common sense is now penalized speaks volumes.

As to the dogs hunting them, it's a reminder of how and why they became man's best friend.

Eric Scheie   ·  April 13, 2011 8:56 PM

Eric, perhaps we shouldn't start hunting them just yet... maybe we should let them run around and breed for a little while longer. After all, when the Federal government inevitably goes bankrupt, the economy tanks again, we all lose our jobs, and inflation skyrockets to the point where buying food is prohibitively expensive, you can bet lots of people will be looking at those feral hogs as a way to feed their families.

I'm kidding... sort of.

John S.   ·  April 14, 2011 11:00 AM

Eric:

They would still be running around -- they just would not be aggressive around humans. They quickly figure out when their continued existence depends upon stealth.

In Texas you can hunt feral hogs year round. No season, no bag limit, and for some reason they are not much of a nusiance in rural parts of Texas. If you live in a small town (2000-20,000) and have a problem with feral hogs, you just pass the word to your friends and acquaintances, and someone takes care of the problem for you. When I lived in Anderson County, there were a couple of good ol' boys that made a living killing feral hogs and selling the meat to upscale resaurants that served "medallions of wild boar" in Dallas.

Mark L   ·  April 14, 2011 11:43 AM

Eric:

They would still be running around -- they just would not be aggressive around humans. They quickly figure out when their continued existence depends upon stealth.

In Texas you can hunt feral hogs year round. No season, no bag limit, and for some reason they are not much of a nusiance in rural parts of Texas. If you live in a small town (2000-20,000) and have a problem with feral hogs, you just pass the word to your friends and acquaintances, and someone takes care of the problem for you. When I lived in Anderson County, there were a couple of good ol' boys that made a living killing feral hogs and selling the meat to upscale resaurants that served "medallions of wild boar" in Dallas.

Mark L   ·  April 14, 2011 11:43 AM

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