Proper wild boar steps: Shoot, enjoy
At the risk of provoking the cougar advocates - again - let me say that you're more likely to see a wild boar in Michigan's woods than a panther.
And when you see one, the Department of Natural Resources recommends, shoot it. Then have your friends over for a barbecue
The cougar lobby wants Michigan hunters to keep their eyes open for big cats. The DNR, the state department of agriculture and farmers want hunters to look for wild pigs.
Feral pigs are an invasive pest every bit as destructive as zebra mussels or giant hogweed.
Worse, they're on the loose in at least 23 Michigan counties. Mostly, they've been spotted in the northern Lower Peninsula, although they've also been spotted as close as Lapeer County.
Anyone with a hunting license can shoot a feral swine. And should.
Across the South, where feral swine have established large breeding populations, they're blamed for destroying crops, spreading diseases, endangering people and damaging the environment.
They're pigs. They'll eat everything from field crops such as corn and melons to young livestock and game animals.
Along the way, they can destroy streams, uproot natural vegetation and encourage the spread of noxious weeds.
Some of the wild pigs are escapees from farmers' domestic herds. Others escaped from or were released by exotic farms.
All potentially carry a variety of diseases that are bad news for farmers as well as for hunters.
If a hunter shoots a wild pig, the animal must be taken to a DNR check station for testing. In the next couple of weeks, you can take it to the same place as deer. If you see a feral pig and don't shoot it, that also should be reported to the DNR.
Before checking in your pig, hunters need to be as careful field-dressing pigs as they should be with any animals. Wear latex gloves to protect against cuts. Particularly in the northeast Lower Peninsula TB area, hunters should look for tan or yellow lumps near the lungs and rib cage, which are signs of infection.
A hunter who finds lumps, whether in pigs or deer, should not eat the meat. Bring the carcass to a DNR field office for proper disposal. Do not leave it in the woods where other animals could become infected.
The DNR has some tips for wild pig hunters:
· Before you pull the trigger, be 100% sure of what you're doing. Drop farmer Brown's prize sow next to the barn and you will deserve jail time.
· Feral pigs aren't deer. What may seem like a lethal shot might only upset a Eurasian wild boar. The DNR suggests aiming for the shoulder or slightly ahead of the shoulder to hit the heart-lung area.
· Do what your grandmother taught you. Thoroughly cook pork to kill any pathogens or parasites. Michigan wild pigs probably aren't carrying any of those scary diseases I listed earlier, but you don't have to worry if you cook your pork to a temperature of 170 degrees.
· If you find feral pig hunting exciting, don't generate future hunting opportunities by releasing more pigs to the wild. That's a felony.
Contact Michael Eckert at 989-6264 or at email@example.com
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