We had two pieces of news come across the cloud wires this week that were of note for small farmers, for hunters, and for citizens who care what the government thinks.

This first one gives you an idea of where the DNR folks are getting their information.  Officials from Texas helped craft the ISO and Declatory Ruling.  This e-mail from Tracy  Schorn, a freelance reporter,  gives you an idea of what they see as the possible “characteristics not currently known to the MDNR at this time.”  Told you so….

Not much to tell you on Texas. I got ahold of the director of Wildlife Management for the state, and he’s actually gone to DNR in Michigan to consult on feral pigs. Feral pigs are an issue for the environment, unquestionably. I just don’t understand how they link that to small farmers and pastured animals. It’s the fear that  they will escape. Or mingle with other wildlife and pick up disease. 
So I asked, do you think pigs should be on pasture at all? And he replied “Hey, the state of Texas won’t let me keep tigers. I might be a very conscientious tiger farmer, but the threat to the public is too great, so I don’t get to farm tigers.”
Wow.  So pigs (no specified breed, just any farm pig) on pasture are akin to tigers.
Then, last night, we saw an article the DNR put out on MIRS, the newspaper to the lawmakers.

Feral Swine Sighted In 90% Of Counties

The feral swine issue has been running around the Legislature this session. It looks like the pigs, themselves, have running around the Michigan ‘s landscape in greater numbers, too.

That’s according to Dr. Nancy FRANK, a veterinarian with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

“As of April, we now have reported sightings from 75 counties in Michigan , so that’s getting to be pretty widespread,” Frank said.

She presented the Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development with their first update on feral swine since November, and a lot has changed. Between October and June there were 116 new contacts with people that had sighted swine around the state.

Public awareness has come a long way since 2002, when wildlife experts predicted feral pigs couldn’t survive harsh Michigan winters.

So has technology.

Frank showed the commission a picture from somebody’s trail camera in Mecosta County that managed to fit 14 wild hogs in the frame. The herd there is estimated to be between 40 and 50, with one porker topping 500 lbs. People are also sending in cell phone photos.

The sightings have covered the gamut of circumstances. Some have been found dead hit by cars, while others were seen rooting through agricultural fields.

Commissioners asked whether things like aerial shooting and bounties had been considered.

“The aerial shooting isn’t probably very practical at some of those areas,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Steven HALSTEAD.

He said that, in fact, some states don’t even have the shoot-on-sight permission for residents, because it tends to build a sport species culture and then people want them around to hunt.

“Is this something we’re going to live with for the rest of our lives?” asked Commissioner Don COE.

Unfortunately, it looks like that may be Michigan ‘s destiny. Younger herds have been located, and the pigs are clearly reproducing in the wild.

“When you look at other states, no other state has completely eliminated them. So our efforts really are at assessing the population and controlling the population,” said Frank.

 Let me get this right, the legislature passed a law dealing with pigs in the woods, but the DNR says it won’t work because YOU, the citizens, WILL GO CRAZY and exacerbate rather than fix the problem.  Also, they know of no workable plan other than killing all of one breed of pigs behind secure fences that will solve the problem of pigs in the woods.  We can’t effectively trap them (after all, of the 1000’s out there, they’ve only trapped dozens), we can’t aerial shoot them, we can’t let the citizens who hunt know where they are, all we can do is learn to live with the nightmare.  THIS IS THE MDNR’S VIEW OF YOU, THE CITIZENS AND THE LEGISLATORS.  

I also need to point out that Commissioner Coe raises Mangalitsa pigs on his Blackstar Farms.  The Mangalitsa is the only breed given a written exemption, even though they have striped babies which means they meet at least 7 of the 9 characteristics that describe a feral hog.  Hmmm……

Remember, anyone can farm!  (As long as you ask for permission….)