Wild-hog His­tory

Modern Pioneer - - [pork] -

It’s be­lieved that pigs were first in­tro­duced into the wilds of Amer­ica by ex­plor­ers as long ago as the early 1500s. Want­ing to es­tab­lish a re­new­able food source for po­ten­tial re­turn­ing sailors, hogs were re­leased along the south­ern shores. From there, they be­gan re­pro­duc­ing at stag­ger­ing rates. In the com­ing decades, some of the off­spring from those ini­tial hogs cross­bred with do­mes­tic pig species. Even more re­cently, Euro­pean and Rus­sian strains of boars en­tered the mix when those pigs were brought into the coun­try specif­i­cally for hunt­ing pur­poses.

Many fac­tors have con­trib­uted to in­creas­ing pig num­bers and their ex­pand­ing range. Some of the most im­por­tant of those in­flu­ences have been the pig’s un­be­liev­able re­pro­duc­tion abil­i­ties, and the fact that the species has few nat­u­ral en­e­mies within North Amer­ica. Opin­ions vary as to how many states now have wild hogs, but that num­ber likely lies some­where be­tween 39 and 45, and many ex­perts be­lieve it’s likely that within the next decade all 50 states will face their own pig prob­lems.

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