I just read this article in the Economist that tickled the heck out of me. The hogs are taking over! I only see dead hogs, and they are usually all medium sized little fellows.
My boss tends to like his hogs to come at around 80 lbs. The amount we go through at the restaurant, and just the size of protein on a plate (the chop of the 138 pounder was so big that the pairing of it with the rolled belly, the braised shoulder, and the head cheese was just too much protein for a plate) dictates about 80 lbs of hog. I couldn’t imagine a 350 lb. hog! So here is the article…
If you go down to the woods today
Dec 4th 2008 | ST LOUIS
From The Economist print edition
APMillions more to go
AUTUMN is a time for country walks, and, if you are that way inclined, for a spot of bang-bang. But hunters and hikers alike are liable to come face to face with a nasty surprise: a growing number of feral hogs, the destructive descendants of domesticated animals, are stalking America.
During its short and brutal life, a feral hog may grow to become a monster of several hundred pounds, covered with bristly hair and fronted with a set of fierce, killing tusks. One hog shot in Georgia in 2004 lives on in legend as Hogzilla because of the claim, disputed by some, that it was 12 feet long (almost four metres) and weighed 1,000lb (about 450kg).
There are thought to be between 4m and 5m feral hogs at large in America, spread across 38 states. The biggest population is in Texas, but states from Florida to Oregon are infested and worried. Feral hogs destroy the habitats of plants and animals, spread diseases, damage crops, kill and eat the eggs and young of wildlife and sometimes menace people with their aggressive behaviour.
The problem originated with the Spanish conquistadors, who took herds of pigs with them as they marched across the American continent. Stragglers reverted to their wild state. Much later “sportsmen” began releasing hogs into reserves for commercial hunting. More recently still declining pork prices have induced farmers to turn some of their stock loose rather than continue feeding them. Pigs produce so many piglets that a feral herd can double or even triple within as little as a year.
Governments and individuals across the country are getting involved. In 2000 Missouri adopted a shoot-on-sight policy with no restrictions on time or place. Other states are encouraging the trapping, poisoning and snaring of the beasts. “Hog dogs” have been trained to track down the herd for hunters. In many states aerial hunting from helicopters has been employed as a pricey but effective solution. But the creatures are intelligent and adaptable, so these efforts are not keeping pace with the exploding feral hog population. Missouri recently made it a crime to knowingly release pigs from confinement. However, the herds continue to grow and spread. Take care.
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