Reply All interviewed the 30-50 feral hogs guy and learned he had a point

Originally published at:


He has an authentic problem, but his question still wasn’t offering an authentic solution.

Hunters were part of the original problem, releasing these pigs into the wild.

Spot-shooting doesn’t control populations, it just makes “rugged” individual gun-owners feel like they’re doing something. Individual owners bringing assault weapons in to their homes result in a net increase of human deaths.

People should care about what’s happening with feral hogs, without framing it as some call to “arm up” ineffectively and with needless added danger.


If you are so inclined, there are videos of assault rifle hunts of feral hogs to be seen all over you tube. It’s true that they show up in sounders of 30-50 at a time. The hunters blaze away at them and kill a few. Then the remaining 30 run away, large, intelligent dangerous animals, many of whom now have non fatal bullet woulds to improve their temper.


I thought it was considered bad hunting form to shoot willy nilly into a group of animals and leave them with wounds? I’m a city guy, but isn’t that bad?


Apparently not when it’s hogs.


Individuals trying to control hog populations can easily make things worse. Weeks of planned hog removal efforts can be ruined by one individual worrying the hogs with dogs, spooking the entire herd and scattering them away from bait sites for weeks. Plus the wound inflicted by non-fatal shots can be gruesome.

I agree with the uselessness of fences, even electrified fences. They’ll smash through 4" wooden posts-and-panel fences fairly easily. Sheep wire and barbed wire also. About the only thing that keeps them at bay is 1.25 inch tube steel with metal grid fencing, which is not cheap.

Hog control is best done with the assistance of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). I have a friend who has a large property in southern Georgia. Every year, the locals would cull about 200 hogs annually from the area lands, to no avail. Those pigs breed quickly! BLM came in and in a planned operation culled close to 2000 in a six week period and it’s been hog free for a few years now.


Yes it generally is. Even shooting into a group of animals you have to aim at individuals because you won’t hit anything firing indiscriminately.

But unlike picking out one deer from a herd, the intent isn’t to harvest an animal, but eradicate a pest.

Last summer we went up north of KC to camp for a couple days, and we saw a half dozen feral hogs hanging out in a ball park. Told a local shop about it and they said they were all over tearing stuff up.


I think we need land mines.

More land mines!

[If it needs saying: I’m joking.]


In the US in 2017, there were 14,542 murders involving firearms. 64% of those murders were committed with pistols (all types), 4% were committed with rifles (all types), and 2% were committed with shotguns. The remaining 30% were committed with unreported/unclassified types of firearms, although there’s no reason to think the basic trends in type of firearm won’t hold for those as well.

The CDC says there were 486 deaths caused by accidental discharge of firearms in 2017, but does not give a breakdown by type of firearm.

According to one study, there were about 300 feral hog attacks on humans between 2000 and 2012. The State of Texas says feral hogs cause $50 million in agricultural damage every year, and Wikipedia says the Federal government spends $20 million annually to control the population. In Texas, it is estimated 66% of the feral hog population would need to be harvested annually in order for the current population of 2.5 million animals to remain stable. I couldn’t find data on how many hogs are killed there every year, but it’s not that many. A Smithsonian article says hogs do $600 million worth of damage in Texas every year, overall.

Hogs are hunted for sport, trapped, and poisoned. The State of Texas killed almost 25,000 in 2009, for instance (half of them from helicopters), making almost no dent in the population. Individual hunters and businesses accounted for a much larger number. No one approach seems to work. Poisoning is pretty alarming to me. Texas has just approved the use of warfarin on hogs.


Well, if he kills the kids, then he really doesn’t have a problem anymore. And a better answer to this scenario is for the government to invest more in eradicating feral hogs.


Wolves. Lots of wolves.


This reminds me of the Great Emu War…


Somehow I doubt our titular rural hero would appreciate having 30-50 wolves appear in his back yard within 3-5 minutes while his kids are playing.


Makes me wonder about old fencing methods, hedges mostly. Proper ones meant to keep pests out rather than ones purely for decoration; I suspect those might be the trick?


Who is going to be dumb enough to give wolves GUNS??!!!?/

Think, people!


I’ve always heard that only people with guns kill people. That’s why the Constitution guarantees our right to arm bears, for instance.


Well, given that the original tweeter was insinuating using assault rifles, I guess a pack of wolves can’t be worse than lead flying around the ears of those kids on full auto …

On a more serious note - wolves are extremely shy animals and you can count yourself very lucky if you see one in the wild. They certainly won’t “appear in his backyard”, even less in such quantity (wolf packs are rarely over 20 individuals). Wolves would approach human dwellings only if there was nothing else to eat, felt threatened (e.g. because of a fire) or there was an easy prey somewhere - such as an unsecured flock of sheep. They are nothing like bears who learn quickly to not be afraid of humans.


Obviously, you use assault weapons that are designed to only shoot bad-guy hogs!


He has a point only in that feral hogs are a thing. And some people use assault rifles to cull them.

But that entire concept is based on the exact same capabilities that make these weapons so deadly in a mass shooting. The “point” is basically trying to find a practical need for mass shootings. Substitute pigs for people and suddenly its a need, and oh god some one needs it I guess we can’t regulate guns.

These pigs were an issue long before that. Stocked hunting has more recently introduced feral hogs to some states where they weren’t previously a problem (including mine). But primarily in the form of escapees from stocked hunting preserves.

Herds in some US states (Florida for example) actually date back to early European contact. The Spanish were big on releasing pigs to sort of stock various places they expected to be stopping at. So old, long standing problem and shooting them has done pretty much dick about it for 300 years.

It is. Even when you’re talking pest control. But some people are assholes as in anything. But that’s why the caliber of ammunition used in these guns is disallowed for hunting anything but the smallest class of game in most states. It can’t reliably bring an animal down in a single shot, so its inhumane.

Hedgerows. They’re a weirdly interesting topic, but they were more about marking boundaries and keeping livestock in than keeping pests out. I’ve seen deer leap 12 foot steel fences, and Europe’s hedgerows were apparently important habitat for shit like Foxes. Which are often considered pests. But hedgerows are cool, and America could use some. I know a few people near me trying to popularize them for our small plot farms. Cause they’re awesome for birds.

But in think the pigs would just eat the hedgerow? Part of the damage the really big herds cause is down to the fact that there’s just too many of them for the environment to provide food for. So they kind of strip the land bare and will even like chew up buildings to get at anything edible.