It’s not really news that there are feral hogs in New York.  There were reports of the animals in a few counties as far back as 2005, but it looks like now the NY Dept of Environmental Conservation is getting serious about it. 

In news stories running around several NY newspapers, like this on in the Asbury Park Press, state officials have recognized a need to actively manage the pigs before they spread out of control… if it’s not already too late.

 A new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates the wild pigs are breeding in three New York counties — Cortland, Onondaga and Tioga.

“In the absence of aggressive professional management, these populations will likely continue their expansion and become entrenched in New York state — with potentially devastating consequences to natural resources, agriculture and human health and safety,” the report concluded.

It’s the same old thing, I guess.  Paint a worst case scenario in order to justify the eradication of the hogs.  Make them sound like an environmental catastrophe and worse, a threat to human health and safety, and folks will generally stand back and let the State (and the State’s hunters) kill them all without much fuss.  My god.  Who will save the children?

Anyway, NY hunters and landowners now have the official go-ahead to shoot feral hogs on sight.

Because feral hogs have such destructive potential, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is giving hunters and others almost blanket approval to kill the wild pigs on the spot.

“Feral swine are the same species as barnyard hogs. We believe these animals belong in barnyards, not in the wild,” chief wildlife biologist Gordon Batcheller said.

However, shooting the hogs has drawbacks: They are nomadic and tend to become even more reclusive and nocturnal when they are hunted.

All I can say is, “good luck, New York.  You’re gonna need it.”

JUST ADDED:  If you’re interested in reading the report that started all of this, here’s the USDA Wildlife Services report.

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