Morning Read: Wild hog fight continues in Clinton County

The Plattsburgh Press Republican is reporting this morning that state environment officials are still trying to contain an outbreak of destructive feral hogs around the town of Peru, on the fringe of the Adirondack Park.

“DEC is continuing trapping efforts for feral pigs on a number of parcels of land in southern Clinton County,” said David Winchell, spokesperson for DEC Region 5 at Ray Brook.

“A number of feral pigs have been captured in the past few weeks, including a larger mature male, a lactating female and piglets.”

Ray Brook recently received a report that a local resident had shot a feral sow that was or had recently been lactating, Winchell added.

The Conservation Department is discouraging hunting of the animals, because they’re afraid that it could cause them to scatter.  The presence of lactating females and piglets is a concern because feral hogs can reproduce and grow their numbers rapidly.

Read the full article here.

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44 Comments on “Morning Read: Wild hog fight continues in Clinton County”

  1. Ken Hall says:

    “Wild hog fight continues in Clinton County”

    Wow! One feral pig shot, two adults captured and an unnamed number of piglets captured with an estimate of over 100 feral hogs in the state of NY. Humans only outnumber the feral pigs about 200,000 to one in NY. Any possibility of a bit of over dramatization going on here? I owned a farm within 1/2 mile of Bear Swamp Road back in the 70′s and 80′s and a couple of my step daughters still live on a portion of that farm. Not one time have they mentioned any concern about the presence of feral pigs.

    When I was stationed in Louisiana back in the mid 60′s feral pigs were common and people did not fear for their lives and property because of them. As the article in the Press Republican stated they are smart, smart enough to avoid humans if possible; but, like any animal of size capable of inflicting damage to humans if cornered.

    I used to raise a couple of pigs per year and I allowed them to roam in the pastures with my cows and horses. It was amazing to watch them plow the ground with their snouts searching out delicacies under the sod. My guess would be the efforts to eradicate the feral pigs lies in their ability to root about in the apple orchards and corn fields not because they are causing widespread carnage in the Peru area.

    Is it not interesting that most humans can not conceive of controlling their own exponentially expanding populations; but, if you are an animal species that is thinking about taking even a mouthful of food from us you are in trouble deep.

  2. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Ken, you make a good point about the human population problem, but you are mis-informed about the problem of feral pigs.

  3. Ken Hall says:

    KHL says: “you are mis-informed about the problem of feral pigs”

    And the truth is?

  4. oa says:

    Whole lotta stuff about feral pig problems on the Internet, including e coli outbreaks.
    Not harmless.

  5. Ken Hall says:

    OA, Did you read the article in the link you posted? It concerned the 2006 spinach e-coli out break and talked about cattle manure with a possibility of wild boar trudging through it; however, this was not considered a proven transmission mechanism. Hopefully you recognize that we would not be able to digest certain food stuffs without e coli, of which there are hundreds, in our gut nor would any other critter. The e coli strain O157:H7 is the strain blamed for the so called “e coli” out breaks and apparently is one of the strains cattle incubate.

    I stand by my contention that the feral pigs are in far more danger from us than we are from them and that the continuation of the species homo sapiens is in far more in danger from human over population of the Earth than from any of the fauna we have eliminated from the Earth in the past few hundred years and those we are likely to eliminate in the next few years.

  6. Ken Hall says:

    “of which there are hundreds” should read “of which there are hundreds of strains”

  7. Peter Hahn says:

    Ken – if you are trying to control a harmful invasive species, the time to do it is when the population is still small.

  8. mervel says:

    They are not native to the area and they are not even “wild” they are domesticated, feral invasive animals that will harm the eco-system. They ARE a part of having too many humans in the area, these pigs are a product of human development, they are not part of the natural environment anymore than feral domesticated cats are.

    I just didn’t think they could hack the winters?

  9. Larry says:

    “The Conservation Department is discouraging hunting of the animals, because they’re afraid that it could cause them to scatter.”

    Sounds like anti-hunting propaganda to me. I am well aware that numerous species have been hunted to extinction, or nearly so. No responsible hunter is proud of that but in this case of an invasive species not threatened with extinction hunting would seem to be an effective, low-cost method of control.

  10. Paul says:

    The “cause them to scatter” theory seems kind of out there. Remember now don’t panic the pigs just let them be and hopefully they will go back where they came from!

  11. Ken Hall says:

    “Ken – if you are trying to control a harmful invasive species, the time to do it is when the population is still small.”

    Peter, It is TOO LATE there are over 7 billion of the most destructive species that has ever invaded every nook and cranny of the Earth’s surface.

  12. Paul says:

    There is nothing in the PR article about the DEC discouraging hunting. Brian is that something they told you?

  13. Paul says:

    TOO LATE for what?

  14. Ken Hall says:

    “They are not native to the area and they are not even “wild” they are domesticated, feral invasive animals that will harm the eco-system”

    Mervel, are they more harmful than “cows”, or any other domesticated critter that homo sapiens have introduced to this area, including themselves?

  15. Ken Hall says:

    “TOO LATE for what?”

    Too late to control a harmful invasive species hell bent on eliminating everything that it considers an antagonist.

  16. oa says:

    Ken seems more interested in winning arguments than in acquiring information, which is a blog-commenting lifestyle choice, but for those interested in feral swine, this NIH report shows the links between feral swine and the deadly e coli spinach outbreak in 2006. Feral swine feces were likely one of the factors in transmitting the disease into the fields. They were definitely shown to harbor the disease, possibly picked up from cattle. And, though this is not in the report, they’re more mobile than cattle. So it’s probably prudent not to have them anywhere near any food you’re producing, if you can avoid it. Or you can live on the edge, another lifestyle choice.
    But I agree: Too many damn people! And swine!

  17. mervel says:

    Ken yes I think they are more harmful than cows. First cows are not allowed to freely roam around the mountains, second cows in general wouldn’t do very well running around the mountains, some would make it most would not.

    I think you mentioned earlier how you watched your pigs root the ground, this is one of the damaging things that pigs would do in the mountains. They eat a lot also, so the more they eat the less food there is for bears, deer, woodchucks, chipmunks, grouse etc.

    So yes I think they are worse then some other domesticated animals, with the possible exception of cats, who for us who enjoy songbirds have no tolerance for.

    I think with invasive species you always have to make sure your cure is not worse than the species itself.

    As far as people goes, well move. The Adirondacks are a very sensitive eco-system, the fewer people living here the better from an environmental standpoint.

  18. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Sorry Ken, I’ve been away all day. here’s some of the answer for you:
    “Alternately called wild boars and feral swine, the pigs are not the gentle, pink cousins of Wilbur from “Charlotte’s Web,” E. B. White’s children’s classic. They start to breed as early as 6 months of age, bearing litters of as many as 10 piglets. They carry disease and can be aggressive toward people. They have even inspired a new television series, “Hogs Gone Wild,” about efforts to hunt them from Hawaii to Alabama.

    Perhaps most worrisome is their reputation as eating machines: the pigs devour ground-nesting birds and reptiles, fawns and domestic livestock, native vegetation and crops. Feral pigs have already proliferated in parts of western New York. But state officials are drawing a line in the topsoil, so to speak, determined to protect both the agrarian economy and the fragile ecosystem from the nascent herd — or “sounder” in swine-speak — in the town of Peru.”

    I haven’t read the whole story I quote from above because I’m in a hurry at the moment, but as I recall these are a European wild boar brought to this country for sport hunting not for bacon.

  19. dave says:

    Anti hunter propaganda? Put the tin foil hats away.

    The DEC’s stance is: Shoot, don’t hunt.

    The distinction isn’t too hard to figure out. Feral pigs are very intelligent and are currently living in small localized groups. If random hunters start actively pursuing them it will apply pressure to these populations and the pigs will adapt, and move to other areas. Exactly what we don’t want them doing.

    Furthermore, the DEC is trying to trap these animals… so it only makes sense that they want them hanging around the area they are trapping.

  20. dave says:

    Brian M.

    Any word yet on legislation or policy changes in the pipeline to deal with the “hunting preserves” that are the apparent source of these pigs?

  21. Paul says:

    Dave, did these “pigs” escape from a hunting preserve?

  22. Paul says:

    Dave, “move to other areas” what do you mean?

  23. Paul says:

    Ken, “control”? What do you mean?

  24. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Canned hunt game farms have been a source of problems many times over the years. Owners raise or bring in animals and their customers pay to hunt them – they call that a sport. Many of these “hunting preserves” have brought invasive species and exotic animals into regions where they do not belong and inevitably some animals escape. There is strong evidence that these types of “farms” have introduced disease agents such as Chronic Wasting Disease into wild populations of animals, in the case of CWD into populations of white-tail deer. Taking the case of Chronic Wasting Disease as an example, if you are a hunter you should be concerned that CWD could be introduced into local white-tail deer populations and an extermination program could be put in place to limit the spread of the disease – ruining hunting for the general population for the sake of lazy people who want to pay to shoot animals in a fenced yard.

  25. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    “Dave, “move to other areas” what do you mean?”

    I think everyone can pretty much understand exactly what dave was getting at, but if I have to spell it out…

    The idea is that some animals can be very wary of humans and if they are scared away from a place where professional trappers are working to catch them some of those wary animals might become even more difficult to find and to kill and they might expand the range in which they have been found making it much more difficult to solve the problem. Or as dave said “If random hunters start actively pursuing them it will apply pressure to these populations and the pigs will adapt, and move to other areas.”

  26. Paul says:

    KNL, CWD spreading into NYSE had nothing to do with a game preserve. Why do you say that? In fact a DEC person brought a injured fawn to a taxidermist (and deer farmer) who put t,he fawn where it was exposed to animal heads from out west where CWD is endemic. Then he put the fawn out and the disease spread to the wild population in Onida county. Luckily the spread was contained. The DEC should take their own advice an leave an injured animal where it is found.

  27. Paul says:

    Sorry NYS not the stock exchange as my iPad thinks it should be!

  28. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Paul, this is what I said: “There is strong evidence that these types of “farms” have introduced disease agents such as Chronic Wasting Disease into wild populations of animals, in the case of CWD into populations of white-tail deer.”

    I don’t see NY state mentioned there.

    Then I said: “Taking the case of Chronic Wasting Disease as an example, if you are a hunter you should be concerned that CWD COULD be introduced into local white-tail deer populations.” I have helpfully emphasized the word COULD to show that I was putting a hypothetical situation out there for people to ponder.

  29. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Wisconsin. “At the game farms, there were two escapes – in 2004 and 2006 – according to Donna Gilson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The status of the two deer that escaped was not known.

    Gilson said department records show the local game farms have maintained proper records and conducted testing of dead deer.

    Before the latest finding, the closest known infected deer in the wild had been in Sauk and Columbia counties.”

    Also, a game farm near Almond in Portage County produced 82 captive infected deer, and most were killed in 2006. The rash of positives on the farm represented the highest infection rate reported in the United States, according to the DNR. But the disease has never been detected in deer in the wild nearby.”

  30. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    “Wisconsin has assumed one of the most aggressive management strategies in the nation. The DNR’s policy has been to contain and slow the spread of the disease, and early on it embarked on a plan to eradicate deer in affected areas.”

    Same story as above.

  31. Paul says:

    Knuck, good point. Yes, NYS should be careful.

  32. Ken Hall says:

    oa, I read the article you linked to in this post and it appears to be an Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) article composed by a group of scientists from a variety of Universities and health organizations specifically tasked (by NIH I assume) to attempt to ascertain the source of the 2006 bagged spinach E. coli 0157 outbreak. Did I read the same report that you read from which you concluded “this NIH report shows the links between feral swine and the deadly e coli spinach outbreak in 2006″? The conclusions of the scientists who wrote this report were:
    1. This group was the first to their knowledge to isolate E.coli 0157 from feral swine in the US (on the approximately 8000 acre farm in CA)
    2. 14.9% of the feral swine and 33.8%% of the cattle (non-feral I assume) tested on the ranch were found to be harboring E. coli 0157
    3. Mechanisms of contamination of leafy greens of this and previous outbreaks are not known; but, hypotheses (theories) are emerging
    4. (verbatim from the report) In summary, E. coli O157 contamination of spinach and other leafy greens is likely a multifactorial process. Additional research is needed to develop and implement effective risk assessment and management practices. For example, studies are needed to determine colonization potential of and levels of fecal shedding by feral swine, and the importance of interspecies transmission to other vertebrate or invertebrate (e.g., flies) populations near agricultural fields.

    I know as a doddering 70 year old my mental faculties are not likely up to snuff; however, I take umbrage with the authors of said report whom with straight face claim that at an estimated population density of 4.6 feral swine per square kilometer they were the most abundant wild life observed on the ranch. The other critters specifically mentioned as being fewer in total number per km^2 were birds, black-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, coyotes, and ground squirrels. An interesting read concerning the 2006 outbreak can be found here: Within this article a portion of an FDA statement was quoted, to wit, “all spinach implicated in the current outbreak has traced back to Natural Selection Foods LLC of San Juan Bautista, California”

    Anyone remember A. Hitchcock’s movie “Vertigo”?; the tower scenes were filmed at the Mission in San Juan Bautista. How do I know this? I lived there from August/September 1975 to June/July 1977 (the movie was made in 1958). There is no way that I believe that fewer than 4.6 birds, black-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, coyotes, and ground squirrels were found on a given km^2 in the vicinity of San Juan Bautista, Ca. A km^2 is roughly 247 acres or a square patch of Earth approximately 3280 feet on each side. San Juan Bautista is about 30/35 miles NNE of Carmel/Monterey Ca.

    In the article I linked to, the FDA was quoted as warning the fresh cut leafy greens pre-wash and packaging industry that any ready to eat crops that have come in contact with flood waters will be considered adulterated. This is significant since flooding is the predominant method of irrigating crops in Ca, I lived there for almost 10 years in the Sacramento and Salinas Valleys.

  33. Ken Hall says:

    Ken, “control”? What do you mean?

    Humans getting off the exponentially increasing population elevator prior to reaching the tipping point of no return by controlling their urges to reproduce at will. Some Scientists are voicing concern that the tipping point may have already been exceeded; a concern with which I agree.

  34. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    To add to Ken’s point and to illustrate the severity of the exploding human population problem, it’s estimated that by around 2050 there will be 9 billion humans occupying our little blue planet. And we think we have food and water shortages now?

  35. mervel says:

    Also it depends on where and how those 9 billion are living on the planet.

    Certainly this many people are a concern. However most parts of the rural US are not overpopulated in fact many large swaths of the US are depopulating. A good portion of the western democracies are moving into flat population growth while some are declining. Declining populations or unbalanced populations can cause large problems for some societies. Part of population growth is not just births, its not enough death, most societies are more healthy with a balance of children and older individuals. But regardless my point is this is a mixed story and not as straight forward as it looks.

    In fact the concern on this board is how do we get MORE people here, yet we live in a sensitive environmental region. So which is it, too many people or too few?

    Also that is a boring rant. Back to the topic can you eat wild pigs? If they carry all of these diseases it seems like you would not want to eat them? Hunting in other parts of the US has not seemed to help get rid of them. What we need is genetically modified poison that only killed feral hogs.

  36. Walker says:

    “What we need is genetically modified poison that only killed feral hogs.”

    Genetically modified poison?!

    First, you can’t genetically modify a chemical, only an organism. And good luck with genetically modifying an organism so that it would attack pigs but be harmless to humans! We’re really not very different from pigs– that’s why they’re used for some drug tests, and why pig heart valves have been used for transplants.

    What we really need to concentrate on is making contraception readily available to those who want it, world wide.

  37. Ken Hall says:

    mervel, You consider the human over population forcing function which is driving the Earth’s most rapid mass extinction event a “boring rant”. Perhaps it is your contention that ignoring really, really unpleasant situations is the most appropriate mechanism to use to solve such problems.

    You then jump directly to the question of the hour “Back to the topic can you eat wild pigs?”

    Easy answer “YES”. Have you ever heard of that new food preparation process called “cooking”? It works well, you ought to try it sometime.

  38. dave says:

    “Dave, did these “pigs” escape from a hunting preserve?”

    Paul, the populations in NYS have been found near “hunting preserves” that are known to have had the animals on the preserve and are known to have had some escape. It is a safe bet they are the source.

    As with all invasives, the ultimate solution can’t be to mop up the mess after it happens. We have to stop the animals at their source. In this case, that will involve holding these “hunting preserves” responsible, and enacting policies and laws that prevent them from doing this again.

  39. Paul says:

    Dave, it sounds more like an enforcement issue. My guess is that it is already illegal to allow animals like this to escape from a preserve, assuming that is where they came from. Why would anyone pay to shoot these things? Weird.

  40. Ken Hall says:

    mervel, “Ken yes I think they are more harmful than cows.”

    From the “NIH” article oa linked us to the conclusion was nearly 40% of the cattle tested were harboring e coli 0157 whilst found in only about 15% of the feral pigs, by the way feral means returning to an untamed state from a domesticated state. From this link I deduced that the average weight of an adult feral pig is about 200 pounds and from my intimate association with milking cows I estimate their average adult weight is about 1300 pounds or about 6 times the size of the feral pigs. If we assume the manure production for each is commensurate with their size, although I would estimate a milking cow produces far more, each cow produces about 6 times the manure as a feral pig. Furthermore the estimate was a few hundred feral pigs in NY, I will be generous and say a few thousand (lets say 5000) vice the more than 600,000 milking cows in NY plus the estimated additional 800,000 calves, heifers, beef, etc. in NY. Therefore:
    1. 6*6*10^5*.4 = 1,400,000 units of e coli 0157 contaminated manure possibly produced per day by only the milking cows.
    2. 8*10^5*3(reduced weight of all other cattle by half to account for young)*.4 = 960,000 units of e coli 0157 contaminated manure possibly produced per day by only the non milking cows.
    3. total units per day of contaminated manure possibly produced by all of NY cows = 2,360,000 units
    4. 5000*.15 = 750 units of e coli 0157 contaminated manure produced per day by 5000 feral pigs.
    5. percentage of e coli 0157 contaminated feral pig manure to contaminated cow/cattle manure produced each day in NY 750/2,360,000 = .0000318 or .00318%
    6. Looking at it another way NY cows/cattle possibly produce 2,360,000/750 = 3147 times as much e coli 0157 contaminated manure as 5000 feral pigs, which is 314700%

    If I were going to be fearful of e coli 0157 contaminating my food I would be far more fearful of the cows/cattle, especially since the conventional method of manure disposal on large dairy farms is to store the farm manure production in vast manure lagoons, thus exposing 100% of the manure to the pathogens if they are present, and allowing it to liquify so that it can be pumped into tanks and sprayed upon crop fields as fertilizer.

  41. oa says:

    Ken, you win, I guess, if you think the term “multifactorial” precludes mobile, e coli-defecating swine as a possible factor. Props to you, as the kids say. I still think we should get ride of the feral hogs (which, incidentally, are thought to have cross-bred with Russian boars imported for hunting purposes.)

  42. dave says:

    I’ve wondered the same thing, Paul.

    I am not sure what kind of “hunting preserves” the ones in question here are, but canned hunting (fenced-in hunting) was recently exposed on Animal Planet and it included 2 preserves in NY State.

    It was eye opening. I always found something abhorrent about the notion of shooting fenced-in animals… but these places are far worse than even I imagined. The animals were hand fed by the staff and would allow people to give them pets and attention. Completely docile and domesticated. One of the facility owners talked at length about how he takes it even a step further and sedates the animals to make the hunts easier.

    Why would anyone go to one of these places, and who are the people doing so? Not something I’ll ever understand. But it seems that there are more than a few reasons for officials to start looking more closely at these preserves… escaped pigs being a big one.

  43. mervel says:

    Ken, the point is cows are not running around the adirondack park wrecking the sensitive environment. These pigs if they end up acting like the wild pigs in Texas or other areas, have the potential of really hurting the environment in the Park, that is the concern not e-coli.

    However I think if you are an organic farmer or a small farmer in the North Country, yes these pigs could be a real real problem for you. The manure from a dairy farm is not going to get into my spinach unless I am located next to the manure or the dairy cows are wandering around in my spinach. These pigs will do both.

    But yes the more humans that live in the Park the more of these types of problems we will have.

  44. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Remember when Bush came here for Earth Day. Maybe he left some wild pigs behind.

    That one was for you Larry.

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