Is Canada Really Being Invaded by Feral Hogs?

Headlines scream the story takeaway: "Canada is being invaded by feral hogs!" But Saskatchewan residents aren't sure if this is real or fake news.

Is Canada Really Being Invaded by Feral Hogs?

Headlines scream the story takeaway: "Canada is being invaded by feral hogs!" But Saskatchewan residents aren't sure if this is real or fake news.

Officials in the Canada province are admittedly on alert for reports about feral swine crossing the border. It's been well documented how badly the invasive pigs can affect agriculture crops, native and imperiled vegetation and impact other wildlife species.

We certainly love to hunt them. Feral pigs are smart, adaptive, seek the best available food and water sources, move during the seasons to find those sources, and they're good to eat.

But Canada officials are smart in not wanting them, despite small numbers having been sighted in some parts of southern Saskatchewan. They've come across the border from Montana and are in few locations, but nothing like a massive invasion wreaking havoc. Officials want to keep it that way. The scary headlines don't seem to be helping, though.

Arlen Brekkaas, a hunter in northern British Columbia, wanted to drive to Saskatchewan to hunt hogs. As with DIY hunters he figured it would be fun, a new experience and he wouldn't have trouble getting the details on where to start.

"I started trying to find out if anybody there would want to point them out. It sure seems like there's a major problem with them," he told the CBC in this story about the supposed swine invasion. No one could give him any good intel about where to go.  "I'm feeling fairly disillusioned about this whole thing. The only real conclusion that I could come to is it's not really that big a problem. Nobody wants help."

He didn't go on his trip and isn't the only person surprised about the alarmist warnings. The CBC reported that Kelly Readman runs Wild Boar Adventures on his 1,000 acres northwest of Saskatoon. He hosts about 300 hunters annually. He, too, isn't convinced there's a massive cross-border horde of pigs on the way or already there.

"The numbers, I think, are way out of whack," he said. "We don't see pigs running all over the place. They don't fly into the tops of trees and hide at night. They live, they breathe, they drink, they eat. So they can be found."

Province officials say the small number of vehicle crashes involving feral pigs doesn't even get the animals out of the "other wildlife" category. And none of the 296 rural municipalities in the province have complained or filed official requests for help.

The CBS story reported that the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation manages the province's feral wild boar program. Its executive director also takes a dim view of the numbers and projections.

"In the past 10 years we've had approximately 25 crop insurance claims from wildlife damage where wild boar was listed as the primary contributor," said Darby Warner, executive director of the SCIC. "In those 25 claims, we've paid out about $96,000 total. To put that in perspective, in 2016 we paid out $36 million in wildlife damage compensation for wildlife and waterfowl that year."

Where are Saskatchewan's wild boars and why all the alarms


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