It is well known that wild pigs are destructive. In the state of Texas, there is an epidemic; they can’t be exterminated fast enough. They are considered destructive to the environment and are known to kill pets, small mammals and certainly destructive to the land.
That being noted, wild pigs can do a superb job of pulverizing your yard, if that is what you want for replanting grass. However, the problem here in Richmond Hill is having wild pigs show up when they are needed — they are certainly not on-call for these services.
They visited my yard one night, and if I wanted to re-sow some grass, all I would have to do is rake away all the loose, dead grass. I have seen yards where it had been prepared for sowing new grass. There was no comparison between what the pigs can do and what man can do in terms of quality soil preparation. I considered it a by-product of their destructive foraging.
The Ogeechee River is big and wide, and not far away. Of all the area in the river basin for these wild pigs to forage for food, they picked my back yard. Maybe they have just about cleaned out all the food in the basin, or they are looking around for a different variety of food, delicacies with a different taste. It’s not only a pig or two — it’s a herd of them.
I noticed that there were patches of grass where they never disturbed. They can probably smell the goodies they are looking for, and maybe those goodies are destructive for the grass. It has been reported elsewhere that after the pigs do their work in a yard, or a garden, and after replanting, by the following spring, there was a beautiful stand of grass, or a beautiful vegetable garden. Based on this report, I can say one thing for them: Maybe the pigs did me a favor.
Early in the morning, just before daybreak, I have heard gun fire, sometimes rapid, off in the distance, probably from some home near the Ogeechee River basin. I imagined some homeowner was waiting for the pigs to arrive. He was probably a hunter waiting for an opportunity to fill his freezer, probably filling other freezers. It is indeed a free food source, especially these days when food is so expensive. Of course, the pork would not be inspected, whatever significance that would be, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The cracking sound of a gun caused a flashback to the days of my childhood, visiting a mini farm where just about everyone owned a pigpen with three or four pigs. I suppose some of us can remember back in our childhood days, when there used to be a special cold day in January when it was customary to kill hogs. Hog killing then was almost considered a holiday. Probably on some farms, this day still exists.
Preparation for such a day meant building what was called a scolding-trough, filling it with water and building a fire underneath. When the water began to boil, the hogs were let out in a pen. The cracking sound of guns rang out in the early morning hours. Sometimes the event meant a day of celebration. At some events, spirits were passed around. On such a cold morning, that was a soothing treatment. Butchering a hog takes skill and expertise. A skilled butcher was always present.
For a last note and moving on: Wild pigs forage mostly at night, and they usually run when someone approaches them. Regardless, being wild animals, they should not be underestimated — there may be a wild boar hanging around. He may charge, slashing, ripping and goring, with his long tusks.
Francis Bond lives in Richmond Hill.