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texas feral pigs, Wisconsin feral pigs
National Park Service/AP

Texas Man Charged With Loosing Feral Pigs in Wisconsin

September 24, 2008 02:39 PM
by Isabel Cowles
A Texas man has been charged with deliberately releasing 30 wild pigs into Western Wisconsin.

Hog Wild in Wisconsin

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Authorities are charging Robert Scott Johnson of San Marcos, Texas, with releasing 30 pigs into Crawford County, Wis., in February 2002.

If convicted of illegally stocking wild animals, Johnson faces $31,000 in fines. The trial began Sept. 5, but was postponed until Oct. 24 because a warden was unable to attend court to testify.

Wild hogs have been blamed for crop destruction and disease spreading in Texas for the last 20 years. According to the Houston Chronicle, “Texas officials estimate that feral hogs annually inflict at least $52 million in damage to the state’s agriculture industry. They say the state spends more than $7 million a year repairing that damage or trying to control feral hog populations.”

Wisconsin authorities claim that the pigs released by Johnson have created self-sustaining communities, spread disease and destroyed crops.

Currently the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) condones the hunting of feral pigs across the state. According to the organization’s Web site, “The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has adopted the position that feral pigs are exotic, non-native wild animals that pose significant threats to both the environment and to agricultural operations. The Department promotes aggressive removal anywhere feral pigs are reported. Feral pigs are considered unprotected wild animals with no closed season or harvest limit.”

Although Wisconsin authorities claim that wild pigs were not present in the state until Johnson released them, the La Crosse Tribune reports that sightings of wild pigs first began in 1999. Nevertheless, since 2002, Crawford County has experienced a spike in its feral pig population, especially in the hills around Gays Mills, where Johnson allegedly released 30 hogs.

According to Bill Howe, chairman of the Crawford County Conservation Congress, multiple landowners attempted to establish game farms in the area. Howe believes that the pigs escaped or were purposefully let loose when the farms failed.

Reference: From domestic to feral pigs

Related Topics: Texas domestics go wild: Lonestar residents vs. wild pigs and cats

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