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  1. #1

    Really, where did all those feral hogs come from?

    For the last few years, I have read various accountings of hogs being introduced into the wild, the tie to the first Spanish releases, unintentional losses, the apparent and highly celebrated subsequent introduction of known Eurasian stock for hunting, etc. Somehow, the distribution of hogs, population, etc. seems difficult to account for evenwith their long history in the US and long period of occasional escapees. A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my father who group up outside of Cooper, Texas. He was responsible for the raising of pigs and part of his daily chores were to unpen the pigs in the morning and turn them out to the bottoms so that they could free range all day long. In the evening, he would have to round them up again. Over time, they would lose a few hogs, gain a few, and occasionally have to get with neighbors who did the exact same thing and return errant hogs. In short, the program meant that the hogs could be fed on the cheap by letting the hogs find most of their own food, kept the amount of hog refuse in the pen down to what accumulated overnight, and kept an active breeding program that prevented inbreeding. No doubt it also meant that there were free range hogs that simply opted to never go home. Let's face it. Folks have enough problems keeping penned and fenced hogs from escaping and so you know there would be losses, er, escapes from free-ranging hogs. That was back in the 1930s and 1940s. Go back nearly 100 years. Hogan in "The Republic of Texas" (1946, p. 34, UT Press) talks about this same process where hogs were "raised in the woods in great abundance" with no corn except a little to help keep them gentle. In other words, people basically kept free range hogs using corn to keep them from straying too far, not keeping them fenced or penned at all. I certainly don't doubt that the free-range raising of hogs has been commonplace throughout the south with a long standing tradition that undoubtedly would have contributed significantly to likely establishing in many areas, maintaining, and certainly expanding feral hog populations. Inf fact, free-ranging of hogs appears to have been a dominant norm historically across many parts of the US and even back in the 1600s, the problem of free-range hogs going feral and the population exploding was noted (see Virginia below). Other references... Free-ranged swine in New York in 1842 (pp. 384-385) http://books.google.com/books?id=d6r...ne&f=false New London Company's importation of hogs in Virginia in 1600 that were allowed to free range had resulted in the colony nearly being overrun by 1627 as they had become wild feeding in the woods (p. 63). Free-ranging was also noted in several other colonies at this time. Page 64 also refers to native hogs of the west, the description being of feral hogs from various earlier settlements. http://books.google.com/ebooks/reade...;output=reader In this 1812 report, swine in Louisiana are common and raised without expense by allowing to [free] range in the woods. See pages 168, 185-186, 229-230, 379. http://books.google.com/ebooks/reade...;output=reader Free-ranging mentioned in this 1888 volume on page 252. http://books.google.com/ebooks/reade...;output=reader Free-ranged swine in New York in 1842 (pp. 384-385) http://books.google.com/books?id=d6r...ne&f=false More feral hogs addressed here in 1897, p. 1134. http://books.google.com/ebooks/reade...;output=reader 1881 notation of free-ranging of hogs in Texas and efforts to keep them from going feral as they turn feral quickly. http://books.google.com/ebooks/reade...;output=reader Page 62 of this 1858 Texas Almanac noted hogs subject to running wild in Denton County, but there were losses attributed to bear that were aplenty, and also to wild hog claimants. http://books.google.com/ebooks/reade...;output=reader No doubt the Spanish released some hogs that went feral, but by and large, the feral hog population looks like it has been steadily and continually salted (pun), populated, and repopulated by the use of free-range ranching methodsof domestic hogs from at least as early as the first part of the 1600s to at least the mid 1900s.

  2. #2
    Thanks for the history lesson 00spy. stoeger9 armdcitizn NRA Member

  3. #3
    Excellent piece ! I grew up in Mississippi, I left home in 1968 and there were still "free range" hogs around even then.

  4. #4
    I have been killing hogs since the early 1980's but I just killed them when I was deer hunting.Never at night.I finally learned how to hog hunt.I haved killed 13 in Grayson county this year.Going to get another one soon.Chuck

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabledad
    I have been killing hogs since the early 1980's but I just killed them when I was deer hunting.Never at night.I finally learned how to hog hunt.I haved killed 13 in Grayson county this year.Going to get another one soon.Chuck
    Yeah, but you still need to figure out how to get them onto your proeprty in Rockdale!!!!! Bahahahaha!!! (Hope you are doing well!)

  6. #6
    I saw tracks at the tank last time I was there.Not many. You know 25 or 30 years ago across the tracks over on some land Shell was going to build a strip mine on a man caught 30 hogs one year. I am doing ok now thanks Chuck

 

 

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