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Archive for Monday, March 26, 2007

Hunt targets hog haven at Clinton Lake

March 26, 2007

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This wild boar was shot and killed two years ago by Scott Besler, who lives in rural Douglas County near Clinton Lake. Wild hogs, or feral pigs, have become a growing problem in Kansas because they can spread disease to livestock and domestic animals. This boar had the characteristics of a wild Eurasian boar instead of the more common feral pigs seen in the area, and wildlife experts believe it was released for hunting purposes.

This wild boar was shot and killed two years ago by Scott Besler, who lives in rural Douglas County near Clinton Lake. Wild hogs, or feral pigs, have become a growing problem in Kansas because they can spread disease to livestock and domestic animals. This boar had the characteristics of a wild Eurasian boar instead of the more common feral pigs seen in the area, and wildlife experts believe it was released for hunting purposes.

Dan Hanney, 53 N. 1150 Road, has seen plenty of wild hogs around his property west of Clinton Lake and has captured several live in traps and on film using a trail camera with a trip sensor. Hanney looks through some of his photographs of feral hogs on his property. Last week a USDA helicopter and gunman flew over land around Clinton Lake to shoot some of the feral hogs. The wild hogs cause problems for landowners because they carry disease that can spread to other animals and cause damage to land and crops.

Dan Hanney, 53 N. 1150 Road, has seen plenty of wild hogs around his property west of Clinton Lake and has captured several live in traps and on film using a trail camera with a trip sensor. Hanney looks through some of his photographs of feral hogs on his property. Last week a USDA helicopter and gunman flew over land around Clinton Lake to shoot some of the feral hogs. The wild hogs cause problems for landowners because they carry disease that can spread to other animals and cause damage to land and crops.

Over population of wild pigs a growing problem

There's a new problem rooting is way into rural Douglas County - anywhere from 100-1000 pigs have been released into the land around Clinton Lake for hunting. Enlarge video

A federal biologist armed with a shotgun and riding in a helicopter last week put a dent in the wild hog population around Clinton Lake.

During two days of aerial hunting, 50 hogs were killed.

"I'm sure there are still a few more, and they are definitely not wiped out, but this certainly helped," said the gunman, Chad Richardson, a wildlife biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "There could be 10 or so that eluded us."

This was the second year the USDA used a helicopter to hunt wild hogs in the Clinton Lake hunting and wildlife area and nearby private properties. Last year, 25 were killed.

USDA takes blood and tissue samples from the dead hogs to test for diseases. Last year, the carcasses were dumped in a private landfill. This year, they were picked up by a rendering company that picks up dead horses and cattle.

Wild hogs, or feral pigs, have become a growing problem in Kansas and other states during the past few years. Kansas Livestock Commissioner George Teagarden last year turned to the USDA for help. Teagarden and USDA leaders say the problem stems from the surreptitious release of domestic pigs by people who want to hunt them. Domestic swine quickly become wild and rapidly reproduce offspring that are born wild and take on characteristics that include coarse hair and tusks.

Wild hogs cause problems for landowners because they carry diseases that can spread to livestock and domestic animals and because they also damage land and crops.

"They root around," said Dan Hanney, who lives near the lake wildlife area. The hogs have done some rooting in his hay field, he said.

Setting hunt limits

Hanney was wary of the helicopter hunt when it took place last year.

"I feel better about it this time," he said. "They were pretty professional and seem to know what they are doing."

Another Clinton-area resident, Scott Besler, wouldn't let the helicopter gunman hunt on his property last year. The USDA has to get permission from landowners in order to shoot the pigs on private property. This year Besler relented. He sees the pigs frequently and has shot many of them himself.

"They have never shown any aggression," he said. "They kind of snort and then want to get away when they see you."

Two years ago Besler shot and killed a wild boar that weighed 470 pounds. The animal had all the characteristics of a Eurasian boar, said neighbor Chip Taylor, a Kansas University professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. He thinks it was intentionally released by a pig hunter.

"This animal showed no obvious traces of domestic pig lineage and had to be one of the first introduced to this area," Taylor said.

There are businesses advertising on Web sites that breed and sell Eurasian boars for hunting purposes.

Last year the state banned the hunting of feral pigs, including on state wildlife land. That hunting, according to the USDA, was driving the pigs onto surrounding private properties. Land owners can shoot the pigs if they are on their property or designate someone to shoot for them. The designated gunman, however, has to obtain a free permit from the state livestock commissioner's office.

Richardson thinks the hunting ban is serving its purpose, which was to keep the pigs in a wildlife area instead of scattering them. That makes it easier for him to hunt them by air.

Last year 23 of the 25 feral pigs killed in Douglas County were on private land, Richardson said. This year all 50 pigs killed were on the state wildlife land. A majority of the land damage caused by the pigs was confined to the state land as well, he said.

Trapping touted

Richardson also used the helicopter to scope out trouble spots in several other counties. He is working with landowners by providing some of them with traps and teaching them how to use them. The landowner can do what he wants with a hog killed by a trap.

Hanney wants to see the trapping program established in Douglas County.

"I think everybody around here could contribute a great deal to helping with this problem if they had some traps going," Hanney said.

Richardson said he intends to return to Douglas County and get a trapping program started this year. He has been working in Kansas thanks to a $125,000 legislative appropriation a year ago.

The aerial hunt in Kansas is over for this year, Richardson said. A statewide total of 257 hogs were killed by air and 75 were trapped and killed, he said.

There is at least one more big, wild boar roaming the Clinton Lake area that would make a welcome prize for a hunter, Besler and Hanney said. They say it is black and must weigh about 500 pounds.

"Most of these are ugly as sin but somehow I'd say this has gotten to be kind of a pretty one," Hanney said.

Comments

Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

A little early for a April Fools joke, the image of swine being slaughtered from helicopters at Clinton leaves me speechless.

oldgoof 7 years, 9 months ago

All true, Sigmund. But stay tuned for the real oinkers here on the comment section.

LogicMan 7 years, 9 months ago

Pork chops and apple sauce, coming up! :-)

sourpuss 7 years, 9 months ago

Okay, I'll explain it:

"Land owners can shoot the pigs if they are on their property or designate someone to shoot for them. The designated gunman, however, has to obtain a free permit from the state livestock commissioner's office."

Clearly, you can shoot the pigs on your own land without any issue at all. If you HIRE someone, THEY need to have a FREE permit to do so. And it seems to me that hunting from a helicopter is probably faster, safer, and more effective in terms of numbers culled than hunting on foot. Perhaps if people would stop releasing pigs, we wouldn't need to cull them. I think the government is handling the problem just fine.

mick 7 years, 9 months ago

It is absolutely necessary to hunt these things by helicopter.....when pigs fly!

southdakotan 7 years, 9 months ago

"mick"--your post was hilarious. Thanks!

Linda Endicott 7 years, 9 months ago

Seems to me that shooting from a helicopter would be pretty difficult, considering the fact that you can't keep the things perfectly still for a good shot...

Why aren't they trying to trap the critters as well? I know I'm squeamish about this, as I don't like the thought of any animal being killed...though I guess I see the necessity here. Just seems to me that they could trap them and kill them more humanely later...more humanely than from a helicopter, where I'll bet there were some wounded but not killed.

And if they missed about 10, that's plenty enough to start the whole problem all over again. It only takes two...

Linda Endicott 7 years, 9 months ago

And don't they think they're kind of noticeable to the hogs in a helicopter? Unless they think they can do this soundlessly.

Hell, one of the things going over startles ME...I can only imagine what it does to a wild animal, who doesn't even know what it is...

There may have been many more of the critters who ran and hid.

Exactly how do they know they only missed about ten??

Aimee Polson 7 years, 9 months ago

Heath-Mac: I believe that at one point the general public was encouraged to hunt these wild pigs, possibly even without a permit. What resulted was an unexpected dispersal of the pigs as the hunters missed their targets and chased the pigs away.

domino 7 years, 9 months ago

RidgeRunner - if you think the chopper hunt will screw up your turkey hunting, think of those who hunt turkey with a bow - season for that starts April 1!!! That being said, they need to do something to get rid of these hogs, but they also need to do something about the deer and turkey populations - but don't get me started - there wont be room for my post!!!

don_burgess 7 years, 9 months ago

Nice front page pictorial, LJW! Very "Lord of the Flies".

Why am I spending my tax dollars on this tactic? Are wild pigs really that dangerous?

From the chopper we I think they should use one of thoes huge, mounted 50 caliber machine guns and just blow them apart with like 10, 000 rounds over and over again in a shower of blood. GACK, GACK, GACK, GACK, GACK, GACK, GACK, !!!!! ! YAAAA!!!! YOU LIKE THAT, PIGGYS?!?!?! ! GACK, GACK, GACK, GACK !!!!! DIE! DIE DIE!

Thanks,

DON

countrygirl 7 years, 9 months ago

Why not put it on a permit system? Then the state would be getting paid for hunters to take car of their problem.

lunacydetector 7 years, 9 months ago

we wouldn't want Hogzilla patroling the clinton lake bicycle path a few of our population uses, now would we?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7264865/

.... wonder what our local mountain lion would think if it came across an 800 lb pig? could be an interesting fight.

Chris Golledge 7 years, 9 months ago

I also don't get the state's rational on this. I wonder how much it cost to fly that guy around in a helicopter. And, I wonder if animals are really aware of where they are being hunted versus where they are not. That implies a learned response and I suspect it would take repeated misses to make an impression on a pig as to where was a good place to be or not. And, as far as that goes, what difference could it make to the pig if it's being hunted by a professional versus volunteers? I'd think it would be a matter of good foraging versus population density that would control where the animals went. Sure, sending a bunch of hunters through an area would cause the animals to scatter for a little while, but that isn't going to change where they can find food. I still see deer in areas where I know they are hunted; so, hunting doesn't drive them out of an area. I think the state is off-base when they say that hunting will make the pigs spread. Seems like the annual heli-hunt is ineffective - numbers are increasing - and 'more boots' would lead to less pigs.

mulie 7 years, 9 months ago

Ridgerunner,

You are a dork! Turkeys are real hard to come by. Put something constructive like I just did.

unite2revolt 7 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad someone is killing them, I don't mind spending tax dollars on it. Hunting obviously doesn't control populations, take a look at the afore mentioned deer population. I think we should organize a special division of gamewardens to cull "pest" populations, buy them a a plane or helicoptor of their own, or let them borow one from the Highway Patrol. I don't know that we need to contract with some out of state specialist to figure out how to deal with pigs.

salad 7 years, 9 months ago

Ferral pigs gotta go. They're an invasive species and cause massive damage. Look what they've done to Hawaii (article in National Geographic a while back), it's just tragic. They can grow to breeding age in six months and have no natural predators here. In three to four generations they can go from cute pink "babe" to the thing pictured on the cover. They're agressive and have killed people in the past. Hunting from helicopter is much more efficient and safe (missed shot goes into the ground not off into the surrounding area). Trapping will kill unintended species as well as hogs. I support the states efforts, these things are scary.

Sigmund 7 years, 9 months ago

On a related note, it looks like The Merc is running a special on free-range, fair-trade, hormone free pork this week.

silent_fool 7 years, 9 months ago

Great post blue73harley. Maybe then we could build a highway through it especially since mother nature didn't intend for either of them to be there anyway.

Ever eaten salamanders? I am sure they are tasty with a touch of salt.

Ken Miller 7 years, 9 months ago

Simply call it the revenge of Ned Beatty.

Confrontation 7 years, 9 months ago

Where are the PETA folks on this one? Surely they would want us to adopt these pigs to loving families.

acg 7 years, 9 months ago

Hehee, Oscar, that made me chuckle. I admit, I didn't read the entire article. Hunting doesn't bother me, I'm a realist. Are these things good eatin'? Can we kill them and send the meat to the homeless or something?

bevy 7 years, 9 months ago

For those wondering if hogs can be dangerous - Ain't ya ever read Ol Yeller? Ever seen a sow protecting her young? They are VICIOUS. (Yes, I know the ones in Yeller were Javelinas, smaller wild pigs they have in TX and other parts of the south)

As for giving the meat to the homeless, wild boars of this size, I believe (some of you huntin' guys correct me if I'm wrong, please) would have meat that tastes pretty rank. At least I know that domestic boars this size do.

While we're talking about wildlife, I was driving north on the new K10 interchange, just past the 6th street underpass, and we saw 24 deer grazing on the ridge to the east! All strung out across the horizon in a long line. Big ones, little ones, mamas and daddies. Quite a sight.

Unfortunately, there's no question we have too many deer. Turkeys are also more prevalent than ever in my lifetime. I've been told that's why the quail and pheasant populations have dwindled - because the turkeys eat or destroy the smaller birds' eggs.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 9 months ago

Part of the problem is that this became a head-butting match between Federal/State Departments, aka, Wildlife & Recs and the USDA (who claim they 'own' the problem because it's an agricultural thing since the feral pigs were once farm pigs).

I can imagine USDA employees taking vacations to go hog-helicopter-hunting. Generally you pay thousands of dollars for these expeditions, unless you can get taxpayers to pay for your recreation. Only the gov. could get things so balled up.

Yep, it's silly and worthless. Well-regulated hunting would seem to be the answer, but the USDA owns the problem, not Parks & Rec. who would be the ones to regulate hunting of the piggies. Since USDA cannot regulate, their option is the Saturday Night Live approach of Federal Door Gunners ......Samuraiiiiiiiiii....BONZAIIIIIIII..................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 9 months ago

.....but, I have to say that I sleep better at night knowing that an armed US Dept. of Agriculture employee is circling Clinton Lake tethered to the gun door of a helicopter.... What a joke.

stopthenoise 7 years, 9 months ago

OK, that does it!

Dear Mr. Teagarden:

Regarding your comments to the Lawrence Journal World, please provide me with proof that hunters released and are to blame for the wild pig problem. If you have it, great. If not, you should be held accountable for your unfounded comments and publicly retract them.

I look forward to seeing your response in the next article.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 9 months ago

The feral pig problem, so local urban legend has it, is due to a pig farmer that went bankrupt a number of years ago. Instead of turning his repossesed pigs over to the bank for resale (since, Lord knows, banks are already full of pigs), he released them knowing that they would survive and revert to wild, or feral.

Hunters may or may not have released more, and larger, Russian-type boars. If they did, brings one to question, just where does one buy a big and deadly Russian boar? How much would they cost? How would you transport it? And why on earth would you go to that problem and expense and then take the very possible chance that YOU wouldn't be the one to gun him down?

Nawww....these are released farm pigs. They take on characteristics of a wild pig in 6 mos, including turning from cuddly pinkish to long-haired black with big tusks.

Michael Capra 7 years, 9 months ago

KILL THEM ALL LET GOD SORT IT OUT,, U.S.M.C

ASBESTOS 7 years, 9 months ago

"When the liberal minded took over the former "Kansas Fish and Game" department and turned into "Kansas Wildlife and Parks" we started having high-cost solutions for low-tech problems. and too many deer... and too many wild turkey...and too many ferrel hogs..."'

That is the knock on the KDWP. They have screwed the pouch on so many issues and this is just another one. Hunters, including handgunners and rifle hunters would have taken out MANY more feral pigs. You have to "Cull" these pigs down LOW because they reproduce SO FAST and have no preditation on them short of the loone pig taken by a pack of coyote.

RidgeRunner is corect (much as I HATE to agree with a "string puller") KDWP did this 14 days before the archery season for turkey????? What do they want to chase the turkey out of the archers season for? The archery hunters are paying FOR A PERMIT WHICH FUNDS THE KDWP PROGRAM!!!!!!!!

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"Hunting from helicopter is much more efficient and safe (missed shot goes into the ground not off into the surrounding area). "

NO! Permits and hunters that like the taste of wild pig are what gets results. These should be with der as an open permit and 5 per year, We could feed a lot of homeless and less fortunate on 5 permits a year per hunter and get rid of the problem.

ALl those permits sold, all those pigs killed, all those people fed, and no expense of a helicopter, and no expense or waste of landfill fees.

THIS WAS JUST DUMB BY OUR KDWP IDIOTS!!!!

They Screwed up the DEER HERD, THE PREMITTING SYSTEM and have NO IDEA OF THE POPULATIONS OF THE ANIMALS IN KANSAS, but still issue less permits for der, and issue NO permits for PIG!!!

Everyone at KDWP should be fired. OUR AGENCIES ARE A WASTE OF MONEY FOR INEFFICIENT AND INEFFECTIVE SERVICES!!!!!!!

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"Well-regulated hunting would seem to be the answer, but the USDA owns the problem, not Parks & Rec. who would be the ones to regulate hunting of the piggies."

NEGATIVE!!! By Statute any wild animal is "property of the state of Kansas". That is is the Kansas Statutes. If animals are lost or abandonded the USDA has NOTHING to do with it, until it hits a slaughter house.

mulie 7 years, 9 months ago

Good article LJW! I am glad the chicken and the wolf finally got their self-determined deserved press time. Here is a very truthful side note. They were both against the removal of hogs last year. It is just that the black wolf was honest about it and the chicken lied, because he feared retaliation from the black wolf. The morning of the event last year they worked together in trapping 20 baby hogs and putting them in a stock trailer so USDA officials could not get to them. It is well known because it was posted on a website by the chicken's wife that they saved the baby hogs from the big bad Feds. The next thing that happened is the wolf let them back out into the open. This is no secret to us who live in the Wakarusa Valley and all state and federal agents involved. To this day though the chicken will always be afraid of the wolf and have the great ability to talk out both ends in order to maintain the peace. You have to survive somehow and can't just lie in the middle of the road bleeding. LJW you did the best you could, because you had no idea you just stepped into a long history of north vs. south. Just thought people might like the truth of the situation, before the sources become the swine experts.

mulie 7 years, 9 months ago

Asbestos

I just pulled my head out and read your post. What is the deal? Have you just learned of this situation? Have you hunted Clinton? Well regulated would take blocking off every road and a toll both atmosphere 24-7 to keep people out. Then where would areas finest go to light up, cook meth, drink and fornicate. (FYI Meth guys there are cameras in the trees)

Man, you don't have a clue about KDWP. You might have the people you dislike, but the majority of KDWP has as much power as you do. The only difference is when a goofball like you puts a post down and gets all cramped up they have to waste time trying to figure out how to change your pampers.

My reading of you is this. You think you are the worlds greatest hunter/wantabe biologist and you are stuck in an area of Kansas where hunting requires the constant competition between you and others for ground. Thats too bad. There are jobs all over this country, where the hunting is good. In fact if you are so good at searching and destroying then put on some digaflauge and get the hell across the ocean tough guy. Instead of trying to pursue your Masters degree in Wildlife Biology by switching your Playboy for a Outdoor life while waiting for the moment to arise again. Ever think you might be a bigger problem than the oh so big world around you. Does anyone esle feel safe knowing this guy has a psycological problem, he has a gun and he likes to be at Clinton? That is enough for me to let you have my spot this turkey season. Don't forget to kiss the nose of the 12 gauge goodnight!

ASBESTOS 7 years, 9 months ago

Mulie you are the one with your head lost in a body orifice. KDWP has no idea on how many deer we have, and on so many issues they simply are WAY WAY behind the curve.

There is only one thing running the KDWP right now, bureaucratic momentum. SImply put they are stuck in the 60's of the Kansas Game Commission processess of yesteryear.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 9 months ago

Should Kansas release cane toads to control the feral swine population?

ASBESTOS 7 years, 9 months ago

"Put our wildlife back in the hands of wildlife biologists... People who don't completely ignore the biologist's and their reports (Deer Task Force Report). People who may care about our wildlife."

If they get competent people than I am all for that. The legislature interviened when it became apparent that the KDWP had NO CLUE of how many deer are in the state.

How did they count deer? BY AUTO ACCIDENTS! and suprise, the counties that had the largest increase in automobiles and automible travel had the largest increase in deer population!!!!

Can You believe that???

And they have the answers? Not by a long damn site.

mulie 7 years, 9 months ago

Asbestos: I could barely get off work quick enough to read this blog. Exciting life I lead.

I had to re-read what I wrote. Feel sorry for you Asbestos, I was a little rough. However, my post was pertaining towards regulating feral hogs, which is what the article was about and what I thought you were talking about. Deer and turkey and bureaucrats, oh my. You made the comment that all of KDWP needed to be fired, early on. Now you are saying put it back in the hands of the biologists. Which is it? I think you are absolutely right by the last post. You pay them to do work, so do you know if it is used to make a better decision about populations of wildlife across the state? I would say you know the answer, you just don't really know for sure. You should ask them to create an official deer counter position, I will hop in my chopper and come get you and fly a grid across Kansas and little into the neighboring states, because they obviously cross lines just like all those catamounts. While were are up we can even take a shot or two at some hogs. The biggest problem is that idiots like us post on the website our frustrations and partly for the fun of it. While the more politically intelligent apes in the group are getting what they want put in law!!!

MacHeath,

Like uh, did you ever like uh , see that commercial uh, where like the car is driving and like the people inside are like saying like all the time and then they like get hit by this big like other thingy? Good luck turkey hunting, it really isn't that tough! I watched a kid on a broken foot with cruches kill a real nice one several years ago. You make me nervous with the rabbit story? What do you do with them after you catch them???? You naughty little cottontail, fluffing that tail around, squeal like a rabbit, yehaawwww! I will have to keep and eye on that law and make sure it stays put. If it makes you feel any better you are killing me with your intelligence so put that in your bag limit.

Ridgerunner,

The chicken and wolf are in the story by LJW. You might have to read it again, but just put the wolf with a person that didn't let people hunt and the chicken is the other guy that isn't a butterfly.

Sorry guys I have to go practice my turkey call. I am going to try and call in a tom and have him mate a live jake. The whole hen thing was just getting too easy. Sorry MaCchocolate and toffe.

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