Even though Washington doesn’t have any known population of feral swine, the state is part of a new regional effort to report outbreaks of the unwanted invasive species.
Today marked the launch of the “Squeal on a Pig” campaign to build awareness about the threat the animals pose.
“They scare the bejeebus out of us in Washington,” says Bill Tweit of the state Department of Fish & Wildlife.
That’s because the state has some “great habitat” in the Willapa Hills.
“They would be tough on riparian areas, salmon recovery and agriculture,” he says.
Washington has been more successful than either Idaho or Oregon in killing off the unwanted porkers. Back in the early 2000s, after WDFW issued a press release looking for information on the location of feral swine on the southwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula, there was a mad scramble amongst hunters and others for the free bacon.
For years and years afterwards at the now defunct Fishing & Hunting News, we would get monthly requests for maps or any other info we had on the peripatetic porkers.
No reports have come in for awhile, but Tweit says that last fall, a roadkilled pig was brought into the Montesano office.
It’s unclear if it was feral or someone’s recently escaped animal.
He says that one of the main “vectors” for the introduction of feral pigs is hunting, and unfortunately that appears to be the case in Central Oregon where some may have escaped a shooting preserve and now roam private lands near Shaniko, 40 air miles south of the Columbia.
We wrote about the problems and solutions in the April 2011 issue of Northwest Sportsman.
Ferals are now also established in Southwest Oregon and near Boise. Some that turned up near a reservoir outside Ontario, Ore., several years ago, however, were quickly converted to pork chops and footballs.
Tweit says the damage the pics cause from their rooting is “immediate and apparent.” They can easily tear up moist uplands.
“They are not a stealth animal,” he says.
For that article last year, we quoted the Oregon Hunter’s Association secretary Duane Dungannon as saying, “OHA’s policy is to support efforts to eradicate feral swine. Oregon doesn’t need another invasive species that competes with native wildlife for food and water, and we certainly don’t need another predator that preys on fawns and nesting game birds and does such extensive habitat damage.”
A toll-free number, dubbed the Swine Line by The Oregonian, has been set up for anyone with a report to call. It is (888) 268-9219.
“We’re taking this opportunity to keep them out of Washington,” says Tweit.