We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, April 13. 2007
This photo of a Maggie's Farm buddy with a big Texas pig, from a post last summer, elicited a comment from a reader saying that they had them in Wisconsin. Wisconsin? That was news to me. I thought "razorbacks" were more of a Southern and Western thing.
Happily, they have not invaded New England yet.
I knew about Texas, California, etc., and I checked his link. Yup. They are now found in 23 states. They are basically wild domestic pigs, but, depending on their location, the urban legend is that they may have some "Russian Boar" blood from game farms mixed in - but the domestic pig and the wild European boar are the same species: Sus scrofa. When breeding wild, feral pigs devolve into their natural form and habits. Unlike wild horses, they attract little sympathy, and they are not cute.
In many areas of Europe, boar is extinct or endangered. In the US, these adaptable invaders are spreading fast, which is bad for forests but fun for hunters.
Omnivorous, destructive of their habitat by aggressive rooting with their snouts, raising up to 4 litters per year, and ranging from 70-400 pounds in adulthood, these hardy, non-native critters are environmental destructos from hell. And their only real predator, to keep their numbers in any control, is man.
To make things more difficult, their shoulders, where you might wish to place a bullet, have very dense tissue which is difficult to penetrate. They are also potentially dangerous beasts who use their tusks as swords: they can easily kill a dog or seriously damage a human. On the plus side, they are highly edible.
Because most states have an open season on pig, hog hunting is increasingly popular - and environmentally necessary - whether with bow, shotgun, rifle (or even handgun, for the very brave or reckless).
Texas Hog Hunt
Thanks for the photo to a Texas reader who sent it in, in response to our piece on Wild Boar. But what's that in your friend's mouth - a piglet?
Weblog: Maggie's Farm
Tracked: Apr 16, 13:46
More on Pigs and Pig Hunts
In the past year we have posted quite a bit on pigs. A reader was kind enough to send in his Show-and-Tell photo above of a recent Texas pig hunt. Is that a piglet his friend is holding in his mouth?Our contributor Gwynnie sent this note on Friday:This we
Weblog: Maggie's Farm
Tracked: May 08, 08:42
Gwynnie is going boar hunting in California again, this time with friend Chester, for whom it is a first time. We’re after Sus scrofa, the descendants of European boars imported for a “game farm”. We’ll actually use rifles in the .270-.308 range,
Weblog: Maggie's Farm
Tracked: Apr 30, 12:07
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Last time I hiked the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina, feral pigs were causing real problems with water contamination. The Forestry Service had declared an all year open season on them.
Yup. they need to be kiled, and eaten. It's not like the usual pork though. No pink hams. Gamey, a bit, and a bit tough. I have had them many times. Best to pit-cook 'em, with sauce.
You might want to pick out a tree you think you can climb in a hurry...
Back in the day folks used to turn their pigs loose to fend for themselves in the summer and herd them up in the fall for butchering and winter feeding. They didn't always get them all.
1100 lb. Hogzilla in a Georgian's backyard: http://www.wsbtv.com/news/10677789/detail.html
There is a native pig-like critter, on the edge of the southwestern desertish country: the Javalina. Small, not too tasty, but a great excuse to have a .222 around. Even if you don't really shoot the little buggers.
We are interested in wild animals. We love 'em, really. God's creations, however strange they may be. We always try to remember that we humans are quite strange, too.
Buddy: Javelinas aren't tasty? Another illusion shattered...
Bird Dog, #7 wasn't meant as a comment on the postings, which are great fun- just on the fascinating/ challenging wildlife out West. I remember scorpions and black widows, too, and always checking the boots. Not too much of a problem, tho- just had to be careful around stacks of brick and stored lumber, which I was quite a bit.
I've eaten some wild boar and it wasn't too bad. The guys here love to hunt them. They're talking about going after crocodile next. I've asked for a handbag and boots, natch.
Skook, anything is tasty in chili, as you know--it's just a javelina po'k chop is kinda stringy and strong.
The big boars down in the river bottoms near the coast, almost always called 'russian boars', give rise to some mighty tall tales. The one that got away was always as "big as a full grown bull".
Buddy: Now the California hogs I have eaten (shot by others) were pretty good slow-cooked and in sauce, as BD suggests. There are legendary tales of Washington State wild hogs descended from those abandoned in mining camps, but I am afraid they are just tales. I think the wild hogs don't go much more north than the San Joaquin Valley. And too bad about javelina. Here I was all set.
Carlos Ashley, Texan poet-cowboy, attorney, State Senator, thoroughbred horseman- “That Spotted Sow and Other Texas Hill country Ballads” (1941)
Did you ever hear the story of that famous hog of mine?
She’s a razorback and spotted black and white from hoof to spine;
With a snout made outa granite she can root just like a plow;
And the fence aint been invented that can turn that spotted sow.
Born and bred on Cedar Mountain she is wilder than a deer;
And she’s known by reputation to the ranch hands far and near
Though a sow of mine had raised ‘er on that mountain she was free;
And I always kinda doubted that she really b’longed to me
She didn’t claim no owner- save the God who put ‘er there-
And for mortal man’s relations she just simply didn’t care.
She preferred the solemn silence of her Cedar Mountain home,
And most of all she wanted us to let ‘er plum alone.
Ever Fall I’d try to mark ‘er but she’d get away agin;
And I reckon that my cussin, though artistic, was a sin.
Well I sold my brand in ’30- moved out ever hog and cow;
Rounded up…yeah…all but one head, all but that blamed spotted sow.
So we organized against ‘er- got the best of dogs and men;
But we never got good started putting that hog in a pen.
(17 more stanzas which I don’t wish to type in. Couldn’t find a copy on the net.)
Sorry, BD, was that offensive? Hard to know, anymore. I just thought the verse fit your Texas feral pig topic. This writer enjoyed rhyming about the everyday and spiritual experiences of his life in "those there" parts. He was an accomplished, educated gentleman who loved central-west Texas. A good friend gave me an autographed first edition of his po'try. Hope it was OK to type in a little of it.
Whoops. Someone just told me they're alligators, not crocs, that are available for the wrastling and fashioning into apparel in these parts. Y'all were so polite in not saying otherwise and I appreciate that.
Not offensive at all!!!! Not to worry! But you are right - gators, not crocs. Crocs live in salt water.
I may have told this story. With the incipient senescence it can be hard to tell. Or with the cumulative long term effects of spirituous liquors over so many years. Anyway, once in Mozambique I was walking along a river through some scrub and grass (that should be your first clue) and the fellow I was with says "watch for the crocodile." I stop and say "Where? I don't see any crocodile." And he points down at my feet. Yee-haw. Still remember that one.
That would be the Limpopo River if memory serves. From now on, I think I will only travel the Limpopo as found in the Disney Jungle Cruise, thank you very much.
Can't beat "With the incipient senescence it can be hard to tell" which is oh so good! What were you doing in Mozambique? Please tell.
Not in Africa but in south Louisiana on a bicycle race had to dodge the gators who owned the roads and lay in wait in the ditches. I think they were after the granola bars and Gatorade.
On a mining job, planning ways to despoil Gaia. Very good game restaurants in East Africa, by the way. Including crocodile. Tastes like alligator.
Was the bicycle race near Houma? Houma is a nice town.
I don't think so, Skook- I think we all went to Houma for a zydeco get-together, tho', on another occasion.
At least croc doesn't taste like chicken, unless gator does-- Mining what, and did you eat zebra?
I think I was close to a croc someplace else in East Africa, too. Like I say, from now on it is the plastic ones on the Disney ride.
Copper and cobalt (which often occur together). I did have zebra, but it didn't make much of an impression. Can't even recall it distinctly. Impala is good, hippo is good, giraffe is wonderful.
Does anything I've said thus far put me outside the pale, PC-wise?
Harsh light on John Muir:
That’s an interesting link Buddy gave. Isn’t it a form of racism or ethnocentric oppression, inherently, to oppose Third World development, bio-engineered crops and DDT that would lift a lot of brown and yellow people out of poverty, starvation and disease, and when most environmentalists enjoy the benefits of civilized development for most of their lives, except,of course, when on adventure studies and doing a lot of admittedly good work in the wilds? At least there are some race-blind anti-human enviros, the speciests who favor all of them except us (who are a virus in Gaia’s system) :)
…While his name is now synonymous with conservation, with the National Audubon Society set up in America in 1905 to promote conservation issues, exhibition curator Graham Hogg points out that "in the days before the zoom lens, to be a good ornithologist meant you had to be a good shot. And Audubon killed as many birds as needed to get the right specimen to draw." That said, in later life he was appalled by destruction of wildlife and habitats, and, as Hogg explains, even in his shooting days he attempted to make some use of the dead birds. "He ate them. Most were fairly unpleasant apparently, but he did say that the Snowy Owl tasted a bit like chicken and made for 'not indelicate eating'."
"Isn’t it a form of racism or ethnocentric oppression, inherently, to oppose Third World development..."
Yes. One of the many deep tragedies of that part of the world is that the politicians and bureaucrats in these nations principally deal with international bureaucracies and NGOs staffed by people with such a mindset. Industry bad, government solutions and dirigiste economies good. They talk with the West, but not with the right people of the West.
Into the 1960's they were still hunting wild boar on Santa Catalina Island.
Hello Skookumchuk ! I have just started hunting wild pig/Russian Boar this spring. No, they are not ghost in the woods, or fairy tales. We have quite a few here in the Evergreen State. Let me know if you would like to know more about hunting them. In the 1860's the Quinalt Indians traded salmon for Russin Wild Boar, and set them free. A 9 month old sow, will have given birth to a prodigy of almost 4000 wild pigs in a short 5 year period, now lets do some multipling by 167 years. Yep, we have got quite a few just running around in our woods. I have seen the sign for years, but now I know what to look for ! We seen "Pig sign " in Cle Elem last Sat/Sun out Turkey hunting. Mostly I look for Russian Boar near the Columbia River basin, But I am thinking we may have them up all the way to our northern borders.
I am interested in hunting pigs in Washington. I have heard there are quite a few around Aberdeen. Do you know where to go to hunt them?