Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Parker Heinlein
Outdoors Columnist 

Slim pickings mid-winter


February 12, 2020

Last week’s column on the impending invasion of feral swine from Canada attracted an unusual amount of attention.

Apparently the squeal of the pig resonates with more hunters than I would have guessed. Pig hunters from across the nation and even the globe weighed in with expert advice on how to thwart the invaders. Almost all of them advocated a shoot-on-sight approach – exactly the opposite of what professional game managers in Montana recommend.

In this age of denying sound science, that should come as no surprise. Anecdotal evidence rules.

So too, does killing the messenger.

Although the plan to trap wild pigs instead of shoot them is Montana’s and not mine, most of the folks who contacted me mistakenly gave me credit.

“You have to kill any wild pig you can!” an Oklahoman wrote. “Montana needs to get a clue and so do you.”

“If you are opposed to hunting just say so and be a man about it,” wrote another.

Others were more personal.

“Although you may think you are smarter than the rest of us, you are not,” wrote a pig hunter from New Jersey.

True, I’m not, but I do live in Montana where we already have the best hunting in the world and barnyard and game-farm escapees would be a disaster here.

It was interesting to note that all the advice about how to control wild pigs came from folks living in places already overrun by them.

Bottom line: we don’t have pigs here yet and we don’t want them.

But hey, they’re already rooting around in 38 other states so there are plenty of hunting opportunities out there.

Make no mistake, I’m all for shooting pigs, and the passion with which pig hunters defend their sport gives me goosebumps.

“I couldn’t get enough of being in the woods with pigs,” wrote a hunter from South Carolina.

“In New Zealand it’s a way of life for Kiwis who have an interest in the hills and mountains,” wrote a pig hunter from across the globe.

I might have to give it a try. Among the personal attacks and criticism of “my” plan were a couple of invitations to come shoot hogs in Southern states.

The day may come when I’ll answer the squeal of the feral pig. In the meantime I’ll try to be content with the bounty Montana offers hunters even if it doesn’t include bacon.

Parker Heinlein is at [email protected]


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