Wild boars no longer a big concern here

Four legged escapees that ran hog wild in some areas of the province appear to have disappeared from Red Deer and Stettler counties.

Four legged escapees that ran hog wild in some areas of the province appear to have disappeared from Red Deer and Stettler counties.

On June 1, 2008, the province passed regulations under the Agricultural Pests Act declaring that free-running European wild boars are a pest and requiring landowners to dispose of any that are found on their property. Included was a pilot program that runs until Dec. 31 of this year, inviting municipalities to offer a bounty for any wild boars killed.

The animals are believed to have escaped or been turned loose from farms and acreages where they were reared as exotic or specialty livestock.

Red Deer County offers $50 per animal. People were asked to bring in a pair of ears for each animal killed to collect the bounty. A number of wild boars had been reported digging up crops, destroying fences and making a nuisance of themselves in the county’s southwest area, near Raven.

Agriculture manager Art Preachuk said on Monday that 12 animals have been killed since the program started and it is believed that there are no more left.

Cara Bomphray, agriculture director for the County of Stettler, said she received numerous inquiries from people interested in hunting the animals, but never had any reports of animals killed, nor have there been any more sightings.

Wild boars had been reported in the area around Byemoor but they’re all gone now, said Bomphray.

Provincial livestock investigator Ed Turco said he does not have current numbers on how many animals have been reported in the various municipalities taking part in the program.

Like Bomphray, he received a number of calls at the start from people interested in hunting the animals but those inquiries are no longer coming in.

Landowners in areas where the wild boars have been sighted have all said they do not want to be contacted by people interested in hunting the animals, said Turco.

Most rural landowners are capable of looking after the problem themselves or have one or more neighbours who can do it for them, he said. Help is available from agricultural services staff at the participating counties for any landowners who need it, he said.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

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