Certainly wild pigs in Michigan would squeal and protest against guns and concealed carry laws if hogs were just capable of articulating objections. Then again, perhaps that is why we have uninformed and self-indulgent people — to root out guns on behalf of society’s swine.
Nevertheless, whether anti-gun protests can actually be linked to swine is beside the point. Feral hogs have become a serious national problem all their own. They have long been associated with the backwoods of Southern states like here in North Carolina where my friend Al recently shot a wild boar that he had captured. The hog escaped its holding pen and found its way to a neighborhood not far from Al’s farm. His panicked neighbors contacted Al who arrived and shot the hog with an AMT Auto Mag III .30 caliber carbine loaded with 110 grain hardball ammo. When Al showed up, the nasty boar started to attack Al’s Kubota, so he killed it. Now, his tusker’s gnarly grin adorns the wall of Al’s workshop.
While wild pigs are nothing new to people down South, the perilous porkers are so prolific that they are now producing prevalent populations in 36 states and have been sighted in 47.
Michigan and other Northern states like Wisconsin, New York, and Pennsylvania have their own endemic pockets of havoc-wreaking wild hogs.
In reaction to the wild pig invasion, lawmakers in the Wolverine State have taken a no-holds-barred approach to deal with the juggernaut of troublesome pork.
One of the surprisingly innovative steps Michigan legislators have taken involves their move to essentially turn law-aiding citizens with concealed pistol licenses (CPLs) in to de facto game wardens. Michigan CPL holders now have the legal authority to “kill swine running at large” in public places, as well as on private property under certain conditions.
Although the objective of the measure is to control the menacing wild pig population only, an additional benefit to Michigan CPL holders is that they have a unique opportunity to hone their defensive shooting skills in public. And you never know when that additional preparation might come in handy.
For now, however, the mission in Michigan is to simply reduce the rising number of overindulgent feral pigs, which nationally are causing an estimated 1.5 billion dollars in damages annually. The pigs destroy farmland, golf courses, lawns, and more. They compete with indigenous wildlife for food, and they carry diseases that can be transmitted to domestic livestock. The hogs can also attack humans.
The wild pig population could be as high as 8 million nationwide according to expert John Mayer, manager of the South Carolina based Savannah River National Laboratory. But precise numbers are hard to gauge because of the wild pigs’ evasive nature. Current estimations remain startling nevertheless because the hogs numbers have exploded since 1990 when they were believed to hover around 2 million nationally.
Complicating solutions to their expanding numbers, these liberated porkers have proved to be extremely cunning, destructive, and dangerous. Their elusive nature, rapid reproduction, and ability to adapt quickly to threats make them incredibly difficult to control.
Some biologists suggest using baited cage traps because they believe gun shots and hunting dogs scatter the hogs and compound the problem. But the cantankerous pigs can exceed 200 pounds, so they provide plenty of peril and precarious pleasure to a plethora of two-legged predators. In fact, hogs have earned such a ferocious reputation among hunters that the porkers are sometimes referred to jubilantly as the poor man’s grizzly.
On the other hand, Detroit native and millionaire rocker Ted Nugent also has a hankering for hunting untamed ham. Of course, Uncle Ted enjoys the luxury of adding a helicopter to the hunt which adds another element of extreme excitement to bringing home the bacon.
Other states allow hunters to kill as many wild pigs as they want, but Michigan has gone a step further by authorizing CPL holders to kill hogs roaming at large. The effectiveness of the move remains to be seen, but it should be noted that no person has been injured due to CPL holders shooting wild pigs.
So, as the Detroit wise man Uncle Ted once said, “When in doubt, pork it out!”