Michigan's Feral Pig Fight

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

The buck pole at Ted Nugent's Jackson County ranch is nearly full, but it's not deer hunting he's concerned about.

"We've heard the bureaucratic threat against pig hunting operations in Michigan," Nugent said.

Nugent owns a separate hog hunting ranch, he said if the state has its way, he'll have to shut it down.

"Not one of my pigs has ever escaped," Nugent said. "I take that back one time one did, but we fixed it."

According to the DNRE, feral pigs are escaping from hunting preserves -- 3000 by their last count -- and wreaking havoc on wild life. The DNRE Wildlife Chief had this to say earlier this year.

"It's a tremendous problem with agriculture," Russ Mason said. "They spread disease and we want them gone."

Possible regulations to the sporting swine industry have been drawn up, but Mason believes that will ultimately cost the state money, so he's pushing for an all-out ban.

Nugent said most pig farmers keep their animals fenced in where they should be. His idea for the state? Punish only those who break the rules.

"If someone is that irresponsible to not have proper fencing or controls, then fix them, I don't have a problem," he said.

Nugent doesn't buy it that there are even that many feral pigs out there, let alone that it's the problem the state says it is. Banning an entire industry, he said, is just bad business.

"Why would you want to take an asset and shut it down in a state that desperately need more assets?" Nugent said.

The Director of the DNRE will decide at the December meeting whether or not to sign the 'Invasive Species Order,' which would make feral swine illegal here in Michigan.

If the DNRE were to proceed with regulating the industry, it would require legislative action, which is unlikely in a lame-duck session.

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