-Wild hogs were first domesticated about 7,000 B.C.
-Feral hogs found in the United States have many different names, including wild boar, wild hogs, feral swine, Russian boar, piney woods rooters, razorbacks, wild pig, tuskers, Eurasian hogs, woods hog—and many names we can’t print.
-Feral hogs are found on every continent except Antarctica.
-The hog-looking collared peccary of the southwest is not a hog; it belongs to an entirely different family.
-Wild hogs are not native to North America or South America.
-Feral hogs are very adaptable to different environments, from hot arid canyons to cold muskeg.
-Wild hogs are excellent swimmers.
-Feral hogs have very poor eyesight, but excellent senses of small and hearing.
-Under good conditions a wild hog population can double in 4 months.
-Wild hogs will eat both plant and animal material.
-Most wild hogs travel in family groups. The exception is adult boars which are mostly solitary.
-Feral hogs do not have the ability to cool themselves by sweating or panting, so during hot weather they must stay in shady wet areas.
-The home range of hogs can vary depending upon food availability, season and population density. It can range from as little as 200 acres to as much as 10,000 acres.
-Unlike deer, wild hogs will move several miles if there is a major disturbance.
-Life expectancy of a wild hog in good habitat can be as long as 8 years.
-Rooting is one way wild hogs find food. They can root-up several acres in one night and dig holes as deep as 3 feet.
-Often when wild hogs frequent a food plot or wildlife feeder, other species of wildlife will abandon them.
-A study done on wild hogs found that the specimens caught hosted as many as 32 parasite species.
Bull’s-Eye … Er, Pig’s-Eye!
A wild boar target kit is available from Birchwood Casey. Each kit contains one 24-by36-inch corrugated backer, printed with a right facing boar on one side and a left facing boar on the other. The kit includes four, 12-inch round self-adhesive Shoot-N-C targets and 36 repair stickers. The kit sells for about $9.
Pork ‘N Parasites
Whether you’re hunting or trapping wild hogs, they can be good eating. But proper care must be given to field dressing and handling the meat, as wild hogs can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. This report comes from the University of North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, and emphasizes the need to wear latex gloves when dressing wild hogs.
A 27 year old hunter field-dressed and quartered several whitetail deer and feral hogs after a successful hunt at his deer camp. He was unaware that a wild hog he was cleaning was infected with bacteria that cause brucellosis, and that he could contract this and other diseases simply by touching the contaminated meat. Since he was not wearing latex gloves, a nick or briar scratch on his hands or arms would provide enough of a cut for infection to result.
Brucellosis, commonly known as “undulant fever” in humans, can be transmitted from animals to humans by handling infected animals or by drinking contaminated, unpasteurized milk. Brucellosis is now rare among farm animals, although livestock veterinarians continue to wear gloves and take precautions.
The incubation period for brucellosis varies, but averages 2 weeks in man. Early signs are chills, fever, headache, malaise, neck and back pain, diarrhea and muscle aches. These symptoms, particularly fever, will fluctuate for weeks. The victim will seem to get well only to have the symptoms recur frequently in many cases. Brucellosis is rarely fatal in humans, but serious complications can lead to meningitis, encephalitis, liver disease and spinal cord damage.
At first, the afflicted hunter complained of back pain and his physician, believing that he had pulled a muscle, prescribed pain killers. When this medication was ineffective, the hunter was admitted to the hospital for tests. Because bovine brucellosis has been nearly eradicated in the U.S. and its symptoms often mimic common diseases, the real cause of his ailment was not initially detected. The numbness and tingling in his legs and back became more and more pronounced.
After several days of tests, the patient was walking across his hospital room when he collapsed to the floor. An MRI revealed a mass the size of a grapefruit growing from his spinal column and pressing into his lungs. After hours of surgery, doctors were able to remove the mass. Cultures taken from it finally identified the cause of his disease. Fortunately, the hunter recovered fully and was able to return to work.
Always wear latex gloves while cleaning and dressing wild game. When finished, scrub your hands and arms carefully with antibacterial soap to kill any lingering bacteria, and thoroughly cook all meat from wild hogs before eating.
Feral swine map link: www.feralswinemap.org