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Wild hogs gorge on North Country crops - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Wild hogs gorge on North Country crops

Courtesy: Brian Thew Courtesy: Brian Thew
Courtesy: Brian Thew Courtesy: Brian Thew

Peru, New York - August 23, 2011

They eat a quarter of it and leave it. They'll destroy a pretty significant section each night," Brian Thew said.

Thew shows off what is left of a corn stalk at Rulf's Orchard in Peru, N.Y. Wild hogs have been having their nightly feast here since May.

"It's very devastating," said Linda Facteau of Rulf's Orchard.

It's estimated the wild hogs have consumed nearly seven acres of crops. That equals a $25,000 financial loss for the farm.

"We may even run out of corn, it's come to the point where we have two big harvests coming up, normally corn is heavy, heavy before Labor Day, it's that last big barbeque," Facteau said.

According to wildlife officials, this is the first time wild hogs have been known to breed in the wild in this part of the state. It is believed the pigs escaped from captivity two years ago.

"They can multiply very quickly; they can triple their population in one year," said Ed Reed of the N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation. "There's no reason they can't survive here."

And biologists are very concerned. Wild hogs destroy ecosystems, crops, backyards and have been known to attack humans. The animals weigh several hundred pounds. It is believed as many as two dozen are living in the Peru area.

"If we don't get rid of all of them, or most of them, I think the problem will expand," Reed said.

"I think eradicating them at this point is going to be nearly impossible," Thew said.

Thew and his hunting crew have been working with DEC since May to try to eliminate the wild hogs at Rulf's Orchards. They've spent nearly every night in the fields trying to hunt and trap the animals with thermal imaging cameras. They've seen as many as a dozen some nights, but so far they've only been able to kill two of the wild hogs.

"Their senses are more keen than any other animal; we've learned it the hard way. Their sense of smell is phenomenal. These animals are really smart. They learn really fast. So when we move into an area, they pattern us, just as quick as we pattern them. You have to be ahead of them," Thew said.

A farm and a region hoping these animals are captured and killed before the population goes hog wild.

Wild hogs are common in other parts of New York - especially alone the Pennsylvania border.

Matt Henson - WCAX News

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