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History of the Beast of Kings
The wild boar (Sus scrofa) is the wild ancestor of the domestic
pig. Currently wild boars are hunted both for their meat and to
mitigate the damage they cause to crops and forests. A charging boar
is considered exceptionally dangerous quarry, due to its thick hide
and dense bones, thus making anything less than a "kill shot" a
potentially deadly mistake. Hunters have reported being butted
up into trees by boars that have already taken a glancing shot.
Wild boar hunting has been around for thousands of years, from the Persians’ first attempt to slay these
creatures, but it has really become known in the medieval times when royalty and rich people used to hunt boars as a
way of entertaining themselves and their guests. Over the years wild boar hunting hasn’t lost any of its appeal and is
now just as popular as it was in Elizabethan England, almost five hundred years ago.
Wild boar hunting is neither for the faint of heart nor for solo hunters, because the boar can prove to be a vicious
fighter that never surrenders without a fight. Despite its aggressive nature, this omnivore is tranquil if not
threatened, and almost never deliberately attacks humans. The sole situation in which you are advised to stay as far
as possible from a boar is when it has cubs (piglets) and they are beside their mother. She will do anything to protect
her young from any danger they may be facing.
Wild boar hunting seems to stay with us throughout the ages and it would seem to continue to be a part of our
hunting sphere for years and years to come. Although hunting for boars has radically changed its ways in comparison
to the way it used to be done centuries ago, it still keeps its essence, whether we comprehend it or not. After all, the
beauty of something lies in what the naked eye cannot see and in what the mind can.
Reference: Wikipedia and Razvan Marian Jr.
Florida's wild hogs ( Figure 1 ) are often referred to as feral hogs or swine and are of three general types. These include free-ranging swine
that come from domesticated stock, Eurasian wild boar, and hybrids of the two. Although technically, feral refers to free-ranging animals
from domesticated stock, all wild hogs are typically referred to as feral in Florida and all are considered the same species, Sus scrofa. Wild
hogs are in the family Suidae (true wild pigs), none of which are native to the Americas. Although not found in Florida, the only native pig-
like mammal found in the United States is the collared peccary or javelina (Tayassu tajacu; Figure 2 ). These are not true pigs, in the
family Tayassuidae, and about half the size of typical wild hogs.
CREDITS: Photo by M.S. Smith. Photo by Walker Media Company Photo by Walker Media Company
It is believed that hogs were first brought to Florida, and possibly the U.S., in 1539, when Hernando de Soto brought swine to provision a
settlement he established at Charlotte Harbor in Lee County. However, it is possible that hogs had been brought to the same site in 1521
by Ponce de Leon during a brief visit. During the next 4 centuries, explorers and settlers brought pigs with them throughout Florida. Many
of these animals were given to or stolen by Native Americans who expanded pig numbers and distribution in the State. Europeans and
Native Americans alike often raised their swine in semi-wild conditions (at least until the mid-1900s when open range ended and it became
illegal) where hogs were allowed to roam freely and only rounded up when needed. Many of these animals and those escaping from
captivity established feral populations throughout Florida. These feral populations have been further supplemented through deliberate
releases of hogs in many areas by private individuals and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to improve hunting
opportunities (although the State no longer does this).
Eurasian wild boar were first released in the U.S. in New Hampshire in 1886. Boar were then released in New York (1900), North
Carolina/Tennessee (1912), Texas (1919), Washington State (1981), and possibly other locations to provide a new, huntable big game
species, and increase the sporting and trophy value of feral hogs through hybridization. Although most were released in enclosed areas,
many escaped and readily hybridized with local feral hogs. A few Eurasian wild boar and many hybrids naturally dispersed to areas around
release sites, including neighboring states. Hybrids have been trapped and moved to many parts of Florida by private individuals. In
addition, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has trapped and released feral hogs and hybrids in many areas to control
hog-related problems in some areas and improve hunting opportunities in others. There are not believed to be any free-ranging, pure
Eurasian wild boar in Florida, only feral hogs and hybrids.
Wild hogs are now found in every county in Florida and in at least 35 states and Canadian provinces, including most of the Southeast.
Florida, second only to Texas, is estimated to have 500,000+ wild hogs in a relatively stable population, with 1 to 2 million in the
Southeastern U.S. Some of the highest densities of hogs in Florida can be found north and west of Lake Okeechobee in areas with large
forested tracts, dense understory vegetation, and limited public access. Hog numbers tend to be lower in areas with intensive agriculture
and urbanization, and little water.
William M. Giuliano and George W. Tanner
University of Florida