Feral pigs also known as wild pigs, wild hogs, wild boars or razorbacks have become a major problem in Michigan according to officials.
Michigan's Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) has declared the wild boar as an invasive species. According to the DNRE there are 3,000 to 5,000 of the feral pigs in 65 of the 83 counties in the state.
The DNRE said the majority of the feral pigs that are running wild in Michigan have escaped from hunting or breeding facilities. They estimate there are at least 65 of those facilities in the state.
The owners of the hunting preserve say they have adequate security to keep the pigs from escaping.
The DNRE, some hunters and farmers say the wild animals inflect a vast amount of damage. The pigs will eat practically anything. Along with farm crops they will eat the eggs of game birds, small fawns, reptiles and indangered wild plants.
detnews.com reports Mary Detloff, a DNRE spokeswoman, said, "They will really rip up a farmer's fields. Overnight, they can destroy acres of corn and wheat. They dig wallows 3 feet deep and 5 feet wide, which are a real danger to farming equipment."
Wild boar breeding and hunting ranches are not regulated in Michigan or are boars listed as a game species in Michigan.
In December outgoing DNRE Director Rebecca Humphries signed an order to make feral swine and wild boar an invasive species in Michigan. The order has an effective date of July 8, 2011. This should give the Legislature time to enact laws to provide regulations for the facilities that breed and provide hunting of the wild boars. If laws are not passed the invasive species order will go in to effect, making it illegal to possess wild boar in Michigan.
Humphries said, "Feral swine pose a significant risk to Michigan's wildlife, ecosystems and agricultural resources, and they are a serious disease threat to humans, wildlife and domesticated pigs. I urge the Legislature to address this issue in 2011. Michigan is in a unique position to address this threat to our natural and agricultural resources by having our legal options aligned, but regulation is greatly needed for us to be effective."
Mlive.com reports Patrick Rusz, director of wildlife programs for the nonprofit Michigan Wildlife Conservancy based near Lansing, said , "I can't imagine a nastier animal. Yet, this still is slipping under the public's radar."
The advice of the DNRE is to shot the pigs on sight.
Mary Detloff said, "Basically, our policy is shoot first and ask questions later."
Kristine Brown, a laboratory technician in the DNR's wildlife disease laboratory said, "If you shoot a pig and it is still mobile, they will turn and chase you. I encourage hunters ... to have a second round in their gun."