Wild Hogs in the U.S. and Why Some Riders Carry Guns - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Wild Hogs in the U.S. and Why Some Riders Carry Guns

Since we've sorta ran off with another thread talking about wild hogs, I thought I'd start one so those of us who have to deal with this incursion can answer questions or discuss it with those who don't have to deal with it and have questions.

The wild hogs we're talking about aren't the native javalinas and razorbacks. Those pigs are smaller, and while they can be aggressive, tend to stay away from humans. What we're talking about are FERAL hogs - domestic breeds that were either imported and released for hunting (Russian boars) or have escaped from farms... or were perhaps 'set free' when someone no longer wanted Wilbur they bought as a cute piglet at the county fair.

These hogs average 150-200 lbs, but some reach 400lbs... and rumors of larger ones are floating around the area of Oklahoma where I live. So far, not verified, but they ARE plausible and come from reliable sources. IMO - they're going to be getting larger and larger as time goes by.

They breed and have babies year around. A sow can be sexually mature at 5-6 months of age. They come into estrus every 20-28 days if not bred. They can have a dozen or so babies with each litter. There are no natural predators, and they will eat anything they can get a hold of - so in addition to rooting for grubs and plant matter... they eat ground nesting bird eggs, baby bunnies, fawns, baby birds. They destroy vast amount of natural habitat. They're pushing out the native pigs - the javalinas and razorbacks.

They are difficult to count by wildlife officials, so... the unofficial official count for my state, Oklahoma... is anywhere from 600,000 to 1.5 million feral hogs. Oklahoma is now hiring people to be chopper gunners... they're hunting hogs from the air and shooting them from choppers.

Texas is calling their count a sound 1.5 mil estimated hogs.

Simply having an open season on them isn't making a dent in the population. They're reproducing in staggering numbers and have no natural predators and if so, there's not enough natural predators to help with population control. Poisoning them is tricky - you don't want to get poison into the food chain and kill your scavengers. They can also SMELL poison in grain and other baits and will not eat it.

They can't see worth a flip - but they have excellent hearing and sense of smell.

Because they can't see worth a darn, they're horrible judges of the speed and distance of a moving car - thus they get hit on the highways and byways and can total a car out or cause of horrific accident.

Now, why do we trail riders or cowboys/ranch hands we know carry a gun? Because the sows are violently aggressive when they have babies to protect - and that is year around. The boars are also aggressive, but less so. They will attack dogs, horses with riders, people on foot. They have been known to kill people in their own front yards and most recently in Texas, a home health nurse was attacked and killed on the sidewalk of a patient's home.

Anecdotally - I've had them run across our paths when riding on several occasions. Usually it isn't just one hog but an entire sounder of hogs. They pack close together and look like a 'freight train' of hogs. I've had one peel off from the group, get separated and square off with us... we chose to ease out of the saddle and keep our horses between us and the boar that was trying to find us (He was sniffing the air, but given their poor eyesight, he couldn't find us). That day I had not ridden with a gun and I was regretting it. I'd have had to walk home - because Trigger would have fled in panic, but I wouldn't have been mauled by a pig on the trail.

They have cornered my husband who was accompanying our son during youth rifle season - hubs was sitting on the ground, back against a tree, in camo. Son was in the tree stand with no clear line of sight to shoot the hog without risking shooting my husband. All hubs had was a thumb-button, lock back pocket knife to defend himself with. Son ended up shooting a different hog he had a clear shot at just to spook the stalking hog away from his dad/my husband.

Daughter shot a 375 lb hog that was eating her deer corn and wouldn't leave her deer stand area... Daughter finally had enough of her and dropped her where she stood. That sow was huge.

They're smart, they're dangerous, and they're stupidly fast/quick on their feet. They can be eaten, yes, but sexually mature hogs, particularly the boars, are very strong in flavor and the meat is tough. They do make excellent sausage at any age, but if you're going to grill one or want the hams, best to get a young one... and hope the momma pig doesn't eat you for lunch!


Hog hunting has replaced racoon hunting in our area - hunters ride horses or mules, at night here, and have dogs to assist them. There are many videos on youtube demonstrating hog hunting with dogs and horses - if you get triggered by animal violence, I don't recommend you look them up. If you're wanting to see just how dangerous these pigs can get, then do look them up.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."

Last edited by AtokaGhosthorse; 01-14-2020 at 01:17 PM.
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post #2 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 01:23 PM
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They make wallows around the edges of our pasture and make it unsafe to ride in there.

That's too bad about the meat not being terribly edible. I always thought that open season, and a hundred pounds of pork, would make them desirable enough for people to hunt more.

What did you daughter do with the one she shot? Eat it? Bury it? Feed it to the dogs? That's a lot of weight to deal with...
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post #3 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 02:44 PM
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Smoking the meat takes away much gaminess I'm told, will see when I get to taste.
Whatever they do to make the sausage...it works since not all pigs hoisted on the dog kennels in truck bed are small coming out of the woods...
My friend made over 100 pounds of sausage....that is a lot of sausage and 1 pig!

By me, people pay the hunters to come in and take out the feral pig population...
No they are not cute little piggies...
They are dangerous animals that will take-on anything including humans or our pets.
Tusks, slice a horse wide-open in their own pasture minding their business...
Haven't witnessed it {thankfully} but been told about the downing of a 2-year old stud horse...
Donkeys even have difficulty trying to defend as pigs work in packs...

So, the dog hunters don't just use any dog but here they are specially bred, culled specific for pig hunting.
The dogs are protected with Kevlar vests that go from neck/throat area, entire ribcage and as far back as the dog can tolerate and move fast yet...vests encircle the body.
{Kevlar is what police protective vests are made from to stop bullets, they also stop tusks, some.}
One tusk can inflict damages and death very easily.

Slice a leg, open the belly...stab and render the animal unable to dodge and get away...they are done for.
The vests I saw were actually fluorescent orange in color so the fast movement the hunter not shoot their dog so bright.
Some use bright spot lights at night...anything goes and is allowed so bad a nuisance they've become.
If you have wild pigs, you are not happy...
Your grazing lands are ripped apart, rooted through and the ground is unsafe for livestock to walk on without possibly breaking a limb...that's bad.
They destroy everything they root through...this is not like the domestic pig raised for 4H...far different in what is happening here.
Our state and federal lands close to all others several times a year...no others are permitted on the property but pig hunters, their dogs and equipment when pig hunts are underway...and they do take out many but at the rate of reproducing, not enough.
I have read, heard some of the guys talking in the local farm supply/hunting store that the pigs now are in near every state in the country...do not know about Canada.
I think even Australia has a problem their too with them...

I've seen them from a distance away... about 300 feet and that was close enough my horse was leaving with me, or he would dump me off if I wanted, but he was leaving.
My horse stares and watches snakes, stared down a alligator, deer, a small bobcat...pigs...he is outta there!!
Only thing I have not encountered is bear on him...and think that may be the same reaction...outta there!!
I've said many times I trust this animal with my life...and I do.
If he says stay put, we do...
If he says we gone...poof, we gone!!
....

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #4 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 03:00 PM
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The original purpose of breeding Catahoula dogs was for hunting in Louisiana. In more recent times, they have become known for their fearlessness against wild boar.

They can also be good cattle herding dogs with proper training.

https://www.abneycatahoulas.com/history.php

Unfortunately unscrupulous breeders have crossed them with Pit Bulls. Both of mine have been extremely loving and gentle pets in the house and at the barn, but we had to do some serious training when it came to their interaction with wild life.

I contacted Abney Kennels above for advice. That was advice was hard core but it paid off.

Anyway - I googled “feral pigs in Tennessee” and found this January, 2019 article. It speaks of an eight year old who shot a 350# wild pig up near Crossville (driving distance to Nashville. Shot the pig thru the heart so the young lad did, lollol

Wild pigs have been reclassified as “destructive” in Tennessee so there is an open season with no limit on them.

What raised my eyebrows is the pig population has spread from the original 15 known counties, to “nearly 80 of Tennessee’s 95 counties”.

Given what you folks have said, I’d bet money they are in all the counties but know how to stay hidden in more populated areas.

https://www.tennessean.com/story/spo...ar/2661750002/

I find it hard to believe feral pigs won’t eat people, or did I misread the above? It is well known domestic pigs eat hair and teeth. That is why a whole bunch of us from my original state think Jimmy Hoffa was never found. After he was whacked, he was driven to the farm of a crime boss and fed to the pigs ———-

Anyway Atokaghosthorseand ACinATX very interesting reads and also some scary stuff. The ONLY thing on this earth my beloved Duke would have heart failure over was the smell of a pig. He would go up against male llamas, flip his ear at a semi that let its jake brake off beside us, walk right up to construction equipment that was running. Just don’t put pig dung in his path——-

@Horselovingguy ; you were typing the same time as me. Unbeknownst to ourselves, we pretty much dittoed each other:).

Thankfully, I don’t have the personal experience you have but I can say, if I were still riding and riding alone, I would have to invest in some bigger than my .38 ———-

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.

Last edited by walkinthewalk; 01-14-2020 at 03:12 PM.
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post #5 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 03:39 PM
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A momma sow and her babies can be remarkably quiet. Think of the sound of a person chewing a rubbery piece of meat, that is about all I heard on my last encounter with them.

They are also fairly smart. Feral pigs sort of get in quietly, eat, tear stuff up and then leave.

Between population and aggression, definitely the one I worry about. You don't need to be far from town either. I've seen a bunch of em maybe 1000 yds from kids playing on the Brazos river.
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post #6 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
The original purpose of breeding Catahoula dogs was for hunting in Louisiana. In more recent times, they have become known for their fearlessness against wild boar.

They can also be good cattle herding dogs with proper training.

https://www.abneycatahoulas.com/history.php

Unfortunately unscrupulous breeders have crossed them with Pit Bulls. Both of mine have been extremely loving and gentle pets in the house and at the barn, but we had to do some serious training when it came to their interaction with wild life.

Not sure why you consider Catahoula/Pit crosses to be the work of "unscrupulous breeders".

Pit Bulls ((And the rest of the "Bully" breeds)) are extremely popular as wild hog hunting dogs. Hunters like their gamieness ((Courtesy of their terrier ancestors)) and brute strength ((That comes from the bulldog side of the family)).

Hell, I've even seem them crossed into the various herding breeds for the exact same reasons!

So it doesn't seem odd to me that hunters and cattlemen would cross them with Catahoula's if they feel that mix of breeds would suit their purposes, those sorts of people breed dogs for usefulness, not the pet market.


Lol, definitely would not recommend somebody get either a Catahoula or a Pit bull for their first dog. Both breeds are energetic and can be dog aggressive if not properly socialized. Crossing them would just be dumping rocket fuel on an already blazing fire unless you either have a job for them to do or know what you're doing when it comes raising dogs.
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post #7 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 04:32 PM
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My daughter got one, fairly young (the hog, not her), when I was visiting her in Texas. Not far from the Brazos. She was doing polo.

Me, not having any idea about Texas hogs, started walking to the pastures. She called to me and pointed to a truck. She said, "These are very aggressive. At best they'll attack the wounded or dead hog. I've seen it. At worst, they'll come after us."

They did go after the dead hog. One shot. We had to wait awhile and fire more shots near those remaining before they left.

Being a young hog we hosted an asada (bbq party). The meat was good.

They can sure tear up a lot of pasture.

I remember some feral hogs in the SE USA. They weren't aggressive. Forty some years ago.
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post #8 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 04:37 PM
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The pigs are multiplying like crazy at the state parks in FL. You often see the adults with several youngsters. They destroy the trails. I have never had them act aggressive, nor do i feel like I need a gun. I do think they need to close the parks to the public and open them for organized hunts a couple days a year.

On the other hand, FL has plenty of wildlife management areas. Those areas are open for hunting almost the entire riding season, the equestrians only get to use them during the miserably hot summers and limited days during the winter. Those areas tend to be devoid of wildlife from excessive hunting. It's not unusual to see no birds or wildlife at those parks, depending on how developed the park is. I believe those areas get over hunted.
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post #9 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PahsimeroiFuzzy View Post
Not sure why you consider Catahoula/Pit crosses to be the work of "unscrupulous breeders".


—-are energetic and can be dog aggressive if not properly socialized. Crossing them would just be dumping rocket fuel on an already blazing fire unless you either have a job for them to do or know what you're doing when it comes raising dogs.
1. I should have clarified. Where I currently live, there are backyard Pitbull breeders that are breeding to the Catahoulas for that red mottled color that my dog is. There are also backyard breeders around here breeding them to be in the fighting ring; which dog fighting and cockfighting is big money business in Tennessee.


2. I was raised with guard dogs on the farm. My dad even took in a retired police dog that only understood Hungarian. I have had Rottweilers and Dobermans the bulk of my adult life, some of them rescues. My first few went to professional obedience classes.

But I had to call in the troops when I got my second Catahoula that was Catahoula/Pitbull mix. The troops being Abney kennels in the link I posted above. He was very kind and very instrumental in helping me get this dog on the right behavior track when we have them outside checking fences.

It meant an E collar for the red dog. Something I suspected I would have to do but kept putting it off because I never had to do that with my Rottweilers. But an E-collar it was and I followed Mr. Abney’s training instructions.

Voila! It didn’t take long until DH could take him out without his E collar. I still put the E collar on him but I keep it turned way down and have not had to use it in a couple of years. All he needs to know is that he’s wearing it and it’s turned on LOL LOL

He is the sweetest most gentle dog in the house & barn. He is terrified of lightning storms, and the neighbor when they shoot off enough rounds in their AK’s that we could get all of our vehicles plus two tractors painted

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #10 of 57 Old 01-14-2020, 04:54 PM
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Do you need to have the meat tested for trichinosis before eating it?
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