U.S. Department of Agriculture Develops Pig Poison
Kevin Felts 12.29.17
It is no secret wild pigs are decimating everything from crops to whitetail deer populations. Some people ask, “Whitetail deer?” Yep, if wild pigs come across a fawn, they will kill and eat the fawn.
Here in southeast Texas, a decade ago it was not uncommon to see a dozen deer on opening day.
In the past few years, a hunter might be lucky to see three or four deer on opening day.
What changed in the past decade? Wild pig populations have grown faster than they can be hunted. It’s not just here in southeast Texas, it is happening all across the nation.
As wild pig populations continue to swell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a “possible” solution.
From The Charlotte Observer: Is poisonous ‘nasty salt’ the cure for South Carolina’s wild hog problem?
Under development by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, so-called “nasty salt” is being tested in Alabama and Texas. If the poison meets federal guidelines, it could be available for use in South Carolina within three years, the agency says.
The poison, sodium nitrite, kills pigs within hours after they eat large concentrations of it, federal researchers say. Swine become lethargic, lie down and die, usually after falling into a coma. By reducing oxygen being carried in blood to tissues, sodium nitrite kills in a way similar to carbon monoxide poisoning. The USDA says hogs don’t feel pain, making it a humane way to eliminate them.
What about natural predators? Pigs are not native to the Americas; they were imported by explorers and settlers starting in the 1500s. The first documented shipment of pigs from Europe to the North American mainland was when Hernando de Soto brought 13 pigs to Florida in 1539. And as people settled the northeast, they brought more pigs with them from Europe.
In the matter of a few centuries, pigs invaded just about every state in the lower 48.
It seems the government is at its wit’s end on the pig problem.
The Agriculture Department stated wild pigs cause an estimated $200 million in crop damage every year. That is a lot of food and money wasted. Then there is the impact on native wildlife, such as deer, and native plants.
It is clear something has to be done, but poison? It seems the U.S. Department of Agriculture is shooting in the dark in the hopes of hitting something. Then again, maybe nasty salt will be a magic bullet for the wild pig problem.
What do you think?