Feral Swine Population Dropping in Oregon

Feral Swine Population Dropping in Oregon

Aerial hunting, traps have reduced population from 3,000 to about 200 pigs

Author: Kyle Spurr

Published: July 29, 2018 at 10:01PM 

Updated July 30, 2018 at 09:39AM

On a rugged hillside south of Antelope, wildlife biologist J.D. McComas spent two nights last week waiting to shoot a feral pig that was destroying nearby farmland.

Each night, McComas drank coffee to stay awake as he used night-vision equipment to spot the pig in the darkness. But it never showed.

Hunting the last of the feral swine in Oregon takes patience.

McComas, a Madras-based wildlife biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, was assigned to lead ­Oregon’s effort to eradicate the invasive feral swine species in January 2017.

About a decade ago, the feral swine population in the state grew to more than 3,000. The pigs are one of the most dangerous invasive species in Oregon and cause damage to agricultural crops and fish and wildlife habitat.

Through aerial hunting from helicopters and corral trapping, the population has been reduced to less than 200. The remaining swine are roaming in the vast wilderness of Central Oregon, from Madras to Shaniko, and in the open terrain along the California border.

— Reporter: 541-617-7820, kspurr@bendbulletin.com

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