Are “Bad” Feral Hogs Red Herrings?

Compiled by the C.A.S.H. Team

The feral hog is not considered to be “wildlife” by wildlife management agencies, so they have no protection of a season or bag limit, any particular weapon or tool can be used to kill them, and any manner of killing is allowed.  They have no protection from anyone at all.

Game management agencies nevertheless recommend firearms so they can collect their Pittman-Robertson taxes. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) published their Winter, 2012 newsletter featuring a cover article designed to strip the hogs of any saving grace.

The hogs are portrayed as “invading” the New Mexico rangeland.  Some are supposed to have descended from long-ago released or escaped domestic pigs, some have migrated in from Texas, but most in eastern NM were escapees from hog hunting facilities in Texas or imported purposely for “sport” hunting or sadistic venting.  If the term “aggravated cruelty” can apply anywhere, it applies to feral hog hunting.

Government agencies are now encouraging ranchers and other landowners to kill as many of the wild pigs as possible because the population is increasing so fast that hunters alone cannot keep up with the increasing numbers.  In a mind-blowing example of blaming the victim, USDA and NMDGF wildlife specialists accuse the feral hogs of destroying agricultural crops, killing newborn livestock, contaminating water sources, destroying wildlife habitat, spreading troublesome weeds, and bringing diseases that affect livestock, and even dogs and cats. The estimated 5 million wild swine in 35 states are accused of causing at least one billion dollars in agricultural damage yearly.

Without looking into the various agencies that have caused the problem, the article notes the pigs’ “capacity for carnage,” describes them as “ravenous” and “aggressive,” as they gobble up food resources needed by native deer and bear, as well as smaller local mammals.  Feral swine are even reputed to be “implicated in the notorious California spinach food poisoning case of 2006.”  The pigs are being blamed for practically everything but the felling of the World Trade Center.

The cruel irony of blaming these  animals for such devastating and diverse damage is, of course, that humans have brought this upon themselves.  Not all humans, but the small minority of hunting humans and their lackeys in various states’ wildlife “management” agencies, DNRs, and the like.  The latter’s predilection to cater to sport hunters has led to countless cases of mismanagement of wildlife and the environment, whether it be the eradication of natural predators like wolves and coyotes to leave more deer for hunters to shoot, or the deliberate introduction of wolves to areas where they would impact ranchers, with the end result being a delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species List and a hunting season opening in the northwest.  The business of hunting has wildlife managers focused on increasing populations of less than 1% of all species at the expense of the 99%!

In virtually every case, the welfare of local wildlife and the desires of the majority of humans who prefer to let wild animals live in peace, and have peace themselves from the incessant din of discharged firearms, are ignored – just so a few troglodytes can realize their bloodthirsty fantasies.

The NM Wildlife article claims that feral hog hunting is popular in New Mexico because there is no kill limit, an open season year-round, any type of weapon is allowed, and no license is required.  This anything-goes attitude not only dooms the hogs to pure sadism wherever they roam, but seems to have engendered a kind of mindless ferocity in the psyches of some hunters. Horrifying photos and videos of atrocious cruelty exist that show frenzied attacks on the hapless animals. Reports have come in to C.A.S.H. of people stabbing them repeatedly over and over in what can only honestly be called a sick blood lust.

Pigs as a species are known to be intelligent, social creatures.  Even the otherwise antagonistic NM Wildlife article credits them with being innovative in their efforts to find water and other resources. Taking advantage of the hogs’ natural sociable behavior, hunters use one member of a group – called sounders – to locate the rest.  A few feral hogs will be caught in a trap, most of them “euthanized,” and one female kept.  They will then follow the lone female pig to the next group’s home ground and massacre them all at once by cravenly shooting them from low-flying planes.  Adding insult to injury, the one who leads them to the pack is called the “Judas pig.”

USDA Wildlife Specialist Ron Jones justifies this cruelty by calling the proliferation of wild hogs in New Mexico “a nightmare in the making.”  But who made this nightmare?  Certainly not the hogs, who did not ask to be brought into the area for hunters.  And Jones admits that most were “intentionally released for hunting purposes.”

Wildlife agents complain that lack of manpower and money hobble their efforts to handle the hogs.  Why did no one in a position of authority think of this possibility beforehand?  Like the introduction of goats to the Galapagos and rabbits to Australia, mankind has repeatedly made disastrous errors of this type.  In this case, though, just for the depraved pleasure of a few people – “sport hunters” – the state game agencies have permitted the introduction of a species that is known to propagate quickly and eat a wide range of food. In another instance of the environment and numerous species being negatively affected by the hunting business, wildlife agencies note that the diet of the imported hogs includes frogs, lizards, snakes, birds and their eggs, and even deer fawns.  We’ve learned never to trust what they say, considering their agenda, and we will be checking into this for the next issue.

With farmers and ranchers across Eastern New Mexico complaining that feral swine are ravaging range and farmland, belatedly, state game agencies are trying to rectify the problem.  How?  By killing as many of the animals as possible.  The hogs have no legal protection as they are classified as “feral domestic livestock.”  NMDGF does not have jurisdiction over them.  Most “on the ground” control is by USDA Wildlife Services, known killers of any number of wild species, from birds to wolves.  Although they claim to have little money, they plan to develop an eradication program with the help of “stakeholders” from around NM.

Meanwhile, the state legislature has outlawed commercial feral hog hunting, which means that a fee cannot be charged to hunt them in NM.  The same law also made it illegal to move feral hogs around the state.  Limiting their commerce-related movement was intended to remove the incentive of financial gain and reduce the possibility of establishing new feral hog communities.  But the natural increase in the fertile hog population means that the state game agencies will inevitably continue the killing themselves, as well as asking landowners to join in.

The author of the article, an avid hunter himself, recommends a 30-caliber or larger firearm to “safely and humanely dispatch” the often quite large hogs.  Think of all that money going into the Conservation Fund.  Every firearm and bullet expended will provide more revenue for the continuation of mismanagement and extreme animal cruelty.  The author of the article encourages readers to kill feral hogs by calling it “a challenging and rewarding experience that also helps protect wildlife and the environment.”

Jones says that the people who imported the hogs for hunting don’t care about the damage they are doing to the environment.  And apparently, no one in government cares either, except for the contracts they are getting and the revenue.  On behalf of the much-maligned feral hogs, C.A.S.H. asks, “Who among you cares about their suffering?” The NMDGF and state legislators need to be told that WE do, and we will not be distracted by their hypocritical use of these innocent animals as red herrings.


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561