Wild pigs becoming a problem in Southern Idaho

I hope they can eliminate every last one of these exotic pests. Until recently Idaho was free of them. I wonder about the history. How did they get into Idaho?

Wild pigs becoming a problem in S. Idaho. KTVB. By Scott Evans





  1. SBH CLAY Avatar

    Innocence abroad
    by Henry N. Ferguson

    My wife was preparing breakfast as I stood at a dining room window gazing beyond a sentinel row of palm trees at the early morning sun forcing its rays through wisps of Texas fog. Our three-year-old daughter, Becky, was in the backyard, her attention riveted to the antics of a pair of quarreling blue jays.

    Suddenly I snapped to attention. An awesome creature, ugly and misshapen, was meandering up the alley. In the hazy light of the early morning it appeared like a monster out of the past. It was a huge thing, armed with long, curving tusks; down its high arched back ran a great ridge, crowned with stiff bristles. I realized suddenly what it was: a pugnacious javelina, the fierce wild hog of the Southwest plains country.

    I took no time to ponder where it came from or how it had managed to penetrate a thickly populated residential section, for it was progressing slowly, grunting, sniffing and rooting with its long snout as it ambled along. I started to shout to Becky to run inside, but I was too late. She and the animal had sighted each other simultaneously. The grunting shifted to a low menacing rumble. The tip of the long nose was an inch from the ground, gleaming button eyes were fastened on my daughter, the beast’s four stubby legs were braced to charge.

    I started to dash up the stairs for a gun but knew I could never get it in time.

    As though hypnotized, I stared at the drama that was unfolding just a few yards away.

    Becky was approaching the javelina, hands outstretched, making gurgling childish sounds as she advanced. The hog stood its ground and the grunts became more threatening. I looked at those fearsome tusks and the sharp even teeth—one slash could lay a man open.

    I started to call to my wife, but something held me mute. If she should look out the window and scream, a chain reaction might be touched off that could end in terrible tragedy.

    Becky, who had been only a few steps away from the beast when they first sighted each other, closed the distance between them with calm deliberation. With hands still outstretched, she reached the side of the beast. One small hand went up to a tough, bristly ear and began scratching it. The deep-throated rumblings gradually turned into a gravelly, almost purring sound. I thought irrelevantly of the idling of a powerful motor. The top of the round, wet nose was gently nudging against Becky’s ankle. The animal seemed actually to be enjoying the attention he was receiving, and my pulse beat slowly dropped to normal. Some perception within the ugly creature must have told him that he had nothing to fear from this tiny child.

    The encounter ended as abruptly as it had begun. Becky suddenly turned away and came toward the house. The javelina seemed to realize that the short love feast was over and slowly ambled on its way.

    Becky passed me as she came through the room. ”Nice doggie, Daddy,” she said nonchalantly.

    from the March 31, 1983, edition of The Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/1983/0331/033107.html


    I’m wondering if we were all as innocent and unharmable as Becky, would our world be overrun by “pests”? Or would we live in the peaceable kingdom, patting pet pigs who were once wild swine?

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      SBH Clay,

      Javelina in Arizona and New Mexico are not hogs and are not feral. We spent a month in AZ recently and had hoped to see some.

      1. Salle Avatar

        The first time I ever saw one was in AZ outside Payson. I was with a European friend who was quite unsettled at its appearance. She warned me that it could puncture my tires. I was a little concerned about that idea but was glad it wasn’t that interested in us. I can imagine that they aren’t anything to have a confrontation with.

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      Javelina are peccaries, a cousin to pigs. Pigs (hogs) are Old World creatures. Peccaries are New World.

      Peccaries are not as dangerous as wild hogs, although they do have tusks. Severe injuries are rare and happen when several javelina attack.

      1. Salle Avatar

        I saw part of a documentary last year that was about some segment of history in the pre-twentieth century US. The part I saw addressed the proliferation of pigs that “got away” by one means or another – like the farmer’s barn burned down or the farmer was killed somehow or moved on from one farm to another location letting the pigs go wild because they couldn’t herd them along – thus becoming a menace on the landscape in a very short time.

        You know, if states like Idaho had anyone with any common sense in the legislature, they would be focused on this sort of wild menace instead of manufacturing one with indigenous wildlife, like wolves, as the culprit of all their woes… like the inability to “bag” their elk using less than fair chase means. These folks seem to thrive only in an environment where the “unfair advantage doctrine” is in place.

    3. Salle Avatar

      Ya think this guy might consider protecting that small child with a fence around her play area? Kind of reminds me of the ranchers who won’t do anything t protect their livestock… but then make a big stink about wildlife having a negative affect when the livestock loses during an encounter and want the taxpayers to kill off the wildlife but not require the rancher to actually do his/her job. If you call your livestock an investment property, you’d think that protecting it would be a nobrainer. It seems that the “dad” in the story above didn’t spend to much time engaging in any forethought for his daughter’s safety. Even a neighbor’s dog could have been deadly, so why not consider a fence. And why was a three-year-old outside, unsupervised at the break of day? Some serious questions arise, and waaay down that list of questions is where the one the author asks should be.

  2. frank renn Avatar
    frank renn

    “Huge thing”, “long curving tusks”. I do not think this person had a Javelina in his yard. I have seen them in Texas and Arizona. They are about two feet tall and probably weigh around fifty pounds. Then there is their upper tusks, they grow straight down not curved.

    1. SBH CLAY Avatar

      My goodness, I didn’t think that simple story about innocence would stir so much interesting discussion. I thank Ralph for telling me the difference between a javelina and a feral hog. I thank Salle for bringing up the “unfair advantage doctrine,” which can be interpreted in one word: selfishness (the opposite of innocence). And I thank Salle for mentioning the possibility of fencing; I gather they lived in an area that felt safe from dangerous dogs or wildlife at the time (this was in 1983!). And Frank, your description of javelinas makes me think that it WAS a wild hog after all!

      In any case, I take from this discussion that using wisdom and applying love — both of which are unselfish characteristics — solves the world’s problems, whereas killing off so-called dangerous beasts seems to bring more ills and grief for everyone concerned.

      Anyone ever read “Kinship With All Life” by J. Allen Boone? It shows how sensitive all animals are to our thoughts about them — and how genuinely good, respectful thoughts about them harmonize our relationships with them in surprising ways.

      Seems to me that peace is NEVER achievable by violent means or by fearing our fellow-beings.

      I appreciate everyone’s sharing.

      1. Ryan Avatar

        Ahh emotions over logic..

        While it is not the Pigs fault, I for one am unwilling to let our native Flora and Fauna be decimated by a non-native scourage, whether it be pigs, feral cats, horses, or livestock..

      2. SBH CLAY Avatar

        Ah, hubris over humility. 🙂

        I don’t think we look up to anyone in history who is known for the former trait, but we do value the mighty works accomplished by those who possess the latter.

  3. Woody Avatar

    Thanks for sharing your experience and opinion. Interesting web site.

  4. mikepost Avatar

    The sad story is, with up to 3 litters per year and between 8-12 piglets per litter, once you have them, you are doomed to always have them. It takes a tenancious hunter to make a serious dent in a wild hog population. They play hell with riparian areas and crops. They are preyed upon but are tough enough that they are not a predator’s preferred meal except for the small piglets. Catching a tusk in the calf can be a nasty wound and that is what normally occurs in a hog hunt gone bad.

  5. Craig Avatar

    Feral Hogs are devastaing and once established are near impossible to control. Even with hunters and no limits! IfG better get a handle on this quick! Ralph why doesn’t WS get involved on these issues and fly choppers ect to eliminate them or do they? Funny 1 wolf kills a calf and it’s choppers and people beating the ground! But if these Hogs take off we are in a world of hell! Look at what they have done down south!!!!!

    1. Salle Avatar

      Maybe it’s because they can only see wolves in their gunsights. Or maybe they only want to see wolves as culprits of all issues and wild hogs are okay because they don’t know what they are.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Wildlife Services has been working on the hog problem in the midWest. It is one of the few things they do I like.


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Ralph Maughan