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Hunter allowed to shoot wild pigs on golf course

October 19, 2010 12:16:10 AM PDT
At the Oakhurst Country Club in Clayton wild pigs are causing a lot of trouble so they hired a hunter to shoot them. People there are likely to hear gun shots again when the hunter goes to work during the night.

ABC7 caught wind of this on CLAYCORD.com because residents were wondering why they were hearing gunshots inside the city limits. It usually happens between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Compared to the brushy terrain outside of the golf course, the Oakhurst Country Club looks like a garden-fresh salad to a hungry wild pig. The 16th hole apparently has the best grubs, roots, and worms.

"When we came in first thing in the morning, it looked like a rototiller had gone through this and just kind of turned everything up," says golf course superintendent Eric Feldhusen.

A herd of about 25 wild pigs has been plowing up the fairways. The Department of Fish and Game says it's not uncommon for them to migrate near urban areas during October.

Fencing them out hasn't worked, so now the country club has a Fish and Game permit to hunt wild pigs inside city limits.

"Keep them off the golf course," says golfer Larry North. But when he was asked if it bothers him that they are shooting the pigs, he says, "Ooh. Relocation is better."

Fish and Game recommends hunting because trapping wild pigs is extremely difficult, but hunting them isn't easy either. The hogs forage at night, they have a keen sense of smell, and they can be gone in a flash.

"They're a combination of feral and wild boar, so it's a combination, but it's still a very smart animal," says Feldhusen.

Archery hasn't worked, so hunters are using spotlights and shotguns. They've killed just two pigs under 100 pounds, but they've seen some 300 pound sows.

"The colonies can quadruple in size within months and they become a huge problem and destroy a lot of property," says Clayton Police Sgt. Tim Marchut.

The city of Clayton has also had difficulty with wild pigs destroying parks and residential property. So far, they haven't shown aggression toward humans but there is concern.

"Call the police department so we can make sure it's not going to get near anybody and keep people safe because they can be very, very, mean animals. No doubt about it," says Marchut.

Police say they already had to chase one pig away from a park where kids were playing.

The permit allows the hired hunter to shoot the pigs as long as they're 150 feet away from a residence, but it hasn't been easy, so the hunt may go on for several weeks.

The meat is being sent to a processing shop and given out to people in need.


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