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Real "wild" night.

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  • Real "wild" night.

    I woke up at 2 am, in the funny way those that look after others have to wake up, bolting straight up and running to the West window to look before quite awake.
    My window shows the barn, that is lighted with an overhead lamp and there, in the pens and under the barn, I could see some critters and for a minute could not tell what they were.
    Then it dawned on me, those were wild hogs, roaming around there happily.

    I could not see any horses, so turned the outside lights to the house on and, walking outside, could barely see the horses asleep in their sand pile by the yard fence.
    At the same time, two big hogs and a half grown one trotted around the yard fence and stopped dead, as the horses woke up and saw the hogs and took off at a dead run into the night.
    Even the 29 year old can run like the wind when startled, I noticed.

    The hogs left in a wobbly run also, back to the main group under the barn and all left asap into the darkness.

    I got a gun and went in the pickup to look for the horses, ideas of them running thru fences, or breaking legs in their hurry to get away from those smelly monsters.
    Did I mention that the rank wild hog smell was overpowering?

    I found the horses playing their giraffe impersonation at the end of the pasture, a mile from the house, but all fine and, once they decided it was me this time, looking for treats.

    I was thinking they won't come to the barn for breakfast this morning, but here they were, as if nothing had happened, waiting for their meal, no worse for their night flight.

    I have been watching them very closely since then, but all seems fine, for now, other than I am still jittery and oh so thankful that nothing worse happened, after all.

  • #2
    Not sure if you're a hunter or not but they are SO destructive.

    My hubby shot about a 150lb sow last year. That was the BEST tasting pork I've ever eaten. Of course if you compare their diet to commercially raised pork, there's no question why it tastes so good..

    They tore up one of our pastures so bad, when hubby was out on the tractor and didn't see one of the craters they wallowed out, the tractor hit it so hard it broke off the smoke stack....


    • Original Poster

      We are a wildlife preserve, no one hunts here.
      Until a few years ago, we didn't have any feral hogs around, they are an introduced species, not native to this area.
      Because of that, we can and really should try to at least control them.

      They have been around here before, but not just in the barn, as they were last night.
      I hope the horses get used to them, that wild flight into the dark is too dangerous for them or my heart.

      Good to know they make good sausage.


      • #4
        Nasty buggers...it's a rare horse that doesn't freak out over feral hogs.

        Maybe they came back to the barn willingly because bacon might have been on the breakfast menu?
        You jump in the saddle,
        Hold onto the bridle!
        Jump in the line!


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
          Nasty buggers...it's a rare horse that doesn't freak out over feral hogs.

          Maybe they came back to the barn willingly because bacon might have been on the breakfast menu?
          Thinking back to the way they smelled, I don't think I want to get close enough to one, no matter how good they may be cooked.


          • #6
            I hope for you that they were just passing through.

            If they become a problem, it's very easy to make a trap for them with a couple of tall cattle panels and a few t-posts. I doubt you'd have any trouble getting rid of them. Post them on craigslist and some redneck will come get them :-) Since they are a feral animal and not a game animal, you can legally sell them even though they were "wild".

            I'm not sure why that pig smell is so scary but horses seem to be terrified of them.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
              Thinking back to the way they smelled, I don't think I want to get close enough to one, no matter how good they may be cooked.
              The boars are horrible. That sow that we butchered didn't smell bad at all.


              • #8
                They do stink to high heaven, especially if there were boars in the group.

                My husband works for a German company and they have quite a few folks there who hunt boars for sport overseas. With dogs, from horseback. At one of the company dinner parties when they were over we got to talking horses (naturally, they love their horses and dogs!) and I was invited to come over and try boar hunting with them. I mentioned it wasn't common to find a horse that didn't freak out over boar smell, and one told me, "It takes a brave rider and even braver horse!" The men in the group who hunted board almost all had Gelderlanders, which gave me the giggles a bit because Gal was about 1/3 Gelderlander and was about as spooky as a horse can be over stuff like wildlife and woods.
                You jump in the saddle,
                Hold onto the bridle!
                Jump in the line!


                • #9
                  My yearling is going to spend the winter at a place that is frequented by bears - just so that if he comes across a bear while I am riding him he does not do what Bluey's horses did!

                  It is actually beautiful up there right now - the sockeye are swimming in to spawn and there are flocks of seagulls and eagle waiting for the carcasses. There is a trail down to the creek and a bear has been lifting fish up onto the bank into a cache. The trees are a glorious colour and blueberry fields aflame.
                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                  • Original Poster

                    I have some friends in NM that have an orchard.
                    That orchard is part of their horse's winter pasture.
                    In the fall, they have seen their horses drunk on overripe, fermenting apples, along with equally drunk bears and elk, all happily coexisting, some sleeping it off next to each other.

                    We have mountail lions, but they are relatively rare.
                    These new wild hogs really look and smell dangerous.
                    I don't blame the horses for reacting like they did.

                    We have had a couple of 4H pigs in a horse pen and stall and the horses didn't pay any attention.
                    These feral hogs are quite a different thing.


                    • #11
                      Send them here, Bluey, my horse, from europe, thinks they are pets. I was riding once with a friend and 2 wild hogs, tusks and all, came running past us. Friend and her horse freaked, my horse thought they were cute. of course he thinks gators are cute too.

                      Don't y'all still have some of the wild hogs that were wild, not feral, in Texas? Here, after a few generations in the wild, the feral hogs get tusks.

                      There's supposedly a few Florida pumas up around here also. I'm skeptical of the picture supposedly snapped by a wildlife camera, but still worried that a panther will like horsemeat. Glad we are overrun with deer here.


                      • #12
                        Scary! I saw a program on Discovery(?) or NatGeo maybe about the growing problem with feral hogs. Incredibly destructive and getting bolder all the time. They showed some guys who hunt with a breed of dog bred for the purpose of tracking hogs. Hope they don't think your place is an easy mark for goodies.


                        • Original Poster

                          We only hand feed hay, no big bales, no grain, so don't know what hogs would like around here.
                          Hopefully they will just move on.

                          You can't imagine all the terrible scenarios of horses thru fences, all kinds of possible injuries to them, it was not good.
                          I took the gun to shoot any pig, if I could be certain of a shot in the dark, or to maybe have to shoot a terminally injured horse.
                          I still can't believe that they don't even seem too perturbed by last night.
                          You know the pens and under the barn still smells like those hogs.

                          I sure hope they were just passing by.


                          • #14
                            Cloudy, all loose hogs in the states are feral. We don't have native wild hogs. Although they're considered technically feral many are no different than other county's wild hogs. Many are the generational offspring of wild foreign hogs that were brought here and released for hunting purposes a couple centuries ago. But also many domestic swine will become wild looking after they get loose and are feral for a couple generations. By growing in size and adding tusks.
                            Some feral hogs reach ridiculously large sizes. They can be either timid as hell or mean as snot...depending on their moods at that time.
                            Hog dogs are very prized animals, but rarely pets. They're very aggressive but have to be considering what they do. A good hog hunter will have the leather or even kevlar vests for his grabber dogs. Keeps them from being bitten or gored.

                            Bluey, things that attract hog like crazy are acorns especially but any nuts (hickories, beechnuts, etc) fruit or orchards, veggie gardens, wild onions, lots of wild mushrooms...if you grow pumpkins or watermelons those can be hog magnets. Same with potatoes. Any rotten or older wood piles (grubs, bugs, small lizards, toads, etc hiding in there). They're not big on hay. Any carrion laying around will attract them too, they love meat as much as fruits, veggies and nuts. Also boggy, wet or swampy areas attract them.

                            Thankfull here in CT we really don't have them so much. Once in a rare while a domestic one or two will get loose but that's very rare. Some areas get some monstrous buggers though. I might llove wildlife, but I'm darned thankful I'll probably never run into a 600 lb pissed off tusker in the CT woods. Or even a group of 150 lb annoyed sows.

                            TX has a real problem with them...not only is it so large and so open that they can breed and survive well, there are tons of places that breed and keep them for hunting purposes and they get loose all over the place.
                            This guy was taken in TX:
                            These guys can get pretty big:

                            Some of the top hog hunting is done in your state...around the country hunters travel there specifically for the Texan Tuskers!
                            You jump in the saddle,
                            Hold onto the bridle!
                            Jump in the line!


                            • #15

                              How do you know all of this?

                              Why do horses freak out so much from wild hogs? Is it a ingrained behavior?

                              Why do they smell so bad?

                              How do the hunters on horseback kill the pigs? Guns or spears?

                              We have tons of acorns around, but I must not live in a wild pig area, thankfully.


                              • #16
                                Wildlife is my hobby, passion and part time job.
                                My other hobby and passion is maintaining ecosystems.
                                So even though we don't have much in the way of feral hogs here, it made sense to learn about them because they're seriously hell on natural ecosystems that they don't belong in. Very damaging.
                                Plus, they're fascinating on top of being stinky and creepy.
                                The smell of carnivores creeps most horses out. Swine are omnivores...they eat meat and plants. And carrion and garbage because they're like 4 legged buzzards. Add in a boar's musk...and well, they kinda stink. And to horses, they stink like "it's gonna eat me!"
                                Hunters on horseback kill them with either a rifle or the dogs...the guys I''ve spoken with don't have hog dogs trained for killing...just for tracking, circling and holding. The hunters catch up to the dogs and shoot the animal with a rifle from what they've said. The horses apparently have no issues approaching a pissed off boar making a lot of noise and a bunch of loud dogs. Darned bold horses.
                                Where are you located...you'd be surprised at how many areas have feral hogs. VA has quite a few, a lot of VA residents are shocked when they hear that or finally see some.
                                The thing with feral hogs are, you'll see the damage they cause or possibly smell them once in a while...but not see them. They can be quite good at remaining unseen. Many times the only way you know one's been around is large chunks of ground churned up and freaked out pets.
                                Sows don't have a lot of smell, piglets don't have really any. Boars stink to high heaven.
                                Now as mean as they can be sometimes...or as huge as they can get...they don't really scare me. I'd be cautious as heck, but not terrified.
                                A shark, OTOH...well they'd find me dead of a heart attack. And that's even if I found one out of water on a trail in the woods, LOL!
                                You jump in the saddle,
                                Hold onto the bridle!
                                Jump in the line!


                                • Original Poster

                                  We are in semi desert, so wild hogs here just don't have much to eat, no gardens, fields, etc.
                                  In the canyons, they do have more to eat and protection, so there are more down there.

                                  Hogs are cannibalistic, as I know someone that drove up to a windmill and there were some wild hogs there.
                                  Stopped a little ways off and shot two, the rest ran off.
                                  Waiting a little, the hogs came running back and started eating on the ones down, that may not have been quite dead yet.
                                  The total shot, before the hogs realized what was happening and the rest left was 8 and that person told me it looked like a war zone with all those dead hogs lying around.

                                  We have to understand that south of here, sometimes they have 400 in one peanut field, that will destroy the field in one night.

                                  Those feral hogs are extremely destructive, not only to what humans do, but to wildlife, eating the nests of wild turkeys, quail, young deer and antilope and all and any they come up on.

                                  Hogs are short sighted and bad tempered. I would not want to make one mad, or stand in their way.
                                  Trucks even have been wrecked when hitting a hog, as they are like a big bowling ball and when you hit them, you lose control of your vehicle.

                                  I sure hope they won't stay around here.
                                  The horses were fine last night and are this moring.


                                  • #18
                                    Forty years ago when I moved here there was nothing but timber land for miles and miles around us. One morning I spotted a tiny little black pig who scuttled back into the woods when he saw me. I started putting out shelled corn and it wasn't too long til the piglet was greeting me happily each morning. We never tried to pen him but you could go out and holler John Henry and you'd hear him crashing through the woods acoming.
                                    He grew and grew, black coarse hair, tusks to be in awe of but what a great pet he was.
                                    He'd try to climb ladders after me. Followed me everywhere. Would flop on his back for a tummy rub. I really loved John Henry. They are SMART, too.
                                    When people started building close to us I worried that he would hurt someone, not on pupose but he would do things like grab your britches leg and tug like a puppy. Not something someone not in the know would find amusing

                                    I gave him to a man who raised hogs and was told later that two of his boars had broken through a fence and killed John Henry.

                                    Don't know if Jc was an escaped domestic or a wild hog but if a domestic I can't imagine where he came from. I really have lots of good memories of that funny fellow though.
                                    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.


                                    • #19
                                      Geez Louise!

                                      Misty Blue, the size of those boars in your pics.....!!!!!! Yikes! And ugly to boot!


                                      • #20
                                        Yep, they're destructive as hell. To farmers, to wildlife and to ecosystems. They can destroy acres and acres of habitat with their rooting around in a short time. Which not only killls vegetation and homes for wildlife and avian nests, but also creates a lot of new erosion and run off issues.
                                        But pj is right, they're smart as heck too. All pigs are smart, feral ones have a bit of extra smarts. However, I wouldn;t recommend trying to make friends them in general. They have been known to cause serious human injury.
                                        You jump in the saddle,
                                        Hold onto the bridle!
                                        Jump in the line!