Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

BOOK REVIEW: Author Writes about Hunting Pigs

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

BOOK REVIEW: Author Writes about Hunting Pigs

Article excerpt

Mark Hainds, a research assistant with Auburn University, stationed at the Solon Dixon Forestry Center in Andalusia, set himself a challenge. Within the period of one year, 2007 (that is, the "Year of the Pig" on the Chinese calendar), he would hunt and kill wild, feral pigs in at least 10 states.

This book is the result. He completed his task, including hunts in California and Hawaii, and has written up the many different hunts and also discussed at some length his other passion, the restoration of the southern long-leaf pine forests. As a growing number of people now know, once the South was covered in these majestic forests; now only 3 percent remain.

There is a strong connection between these two interests. Wild pigs rooting with their snouts and tusks cause more damage than the layman can easily imagine. They often root up the newly planted long- leaf pine seedlings.

Wild pigs also root up rows of peanut crops, gardens, pastures and, in their search for food, dig up insects, grubs, fungi, worms etc., so ferociously they can cause soil erosion. Pigs will also eat reptiles, amphibians, worms, small mammals. They will follow after bush hogs and eat wounded rabbits, birds, even fawns, anything injured by the mower.

Steven Ditchkoff, in his Foreword, tells the reader that "in some parts of Texas [pigs] are the second greatest predator of livestock (the greatest being the coyote), usually consuming newborn animals. Most of these predations go unnoticed, because pigs consume the entire carcass." They have even been known to break into houses looking for food.

Erskine Caldwell wrote of people being killed and eaten by pigs. Apparently this was not impossible.

Ditchkoff also tells us pigs sexually mature at 8 months and can have 2 litters per year of 4-5 piglets.

Pigs apparently breed like rabbits.

So it is difficult to control them, and where National Parks don't allow civilian hunters, paid professionals are sent in to kill them, wholesale. …

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