Hunters Battle Invasion of Hungry Hogs

Tough, wily, feral swine are spreading fast through the US
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2008 6:39 AM CDT
This photo provided by the Texas A&M University Research and Extension Center shows feral hogs eating corn at a deer feeder near Overton, Texas, in 2004.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Hog hunters are finding their services in demand as the wild beasts spread across the country, reports the New York Times. The porkers—descendants of pigs brought by Spanish explorers, escaped swine from farms, and wild boar released by hunters—weigh up to 400 pounds and cause around $800 million in property damage yearly. Some are even particular to golf courses, notes the Times, which goes on the hunt with a crew near Houston.

Long a Southern nuisance, the hogs have now spread to 37 states. Authorities are taking steps to keep the numbers down, but the beasts have proved wily and hard to hunt. They move at night and have learned to avoid traps and hunters. When cornered, the sharp-tusked animals can be fierce. "It’s tough to sneak up on them because of their sense of smell,” one expert said. “They are an extremely wary critter. They’re very smart.”