PERU — Wild boars continue to roam the land near Rulfs Orchard in Peru, but landowners and state officials are asking hunters to stay off the property while attempts are made to trap the unwanted animals.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation has set up large traps on the property in hopes of capturing several swine at one time, a process officials believe will be more efficient than trying to hunt the elusive creatures.
"They are very wary, very smart animals," said Ed Reed, wildlife biologist for DEC in Ray Brook. "They're very difficult animals to catch. They stay in thick cover and are not usually seen in open fields during the day.
"We're asking folks not to call up the landowners to ask if they can come on the property to hunt. They (landowners) are not allowing anyone on the property at this time."
LURING THEM IN
Officials also have to be patient in setting up traps. They will first place food at a specific location, and as the boars become familiar with that site, officials will set the traps. The devices allow the swine to enter through a swinging door but prevent them from exiting.
"These are big traps, about a 30-foot circle when set up," Reed said. "If we can get them all in the same trap at one time, we can eliminate a whole bunch fairly quickly."
DEC received its first report of wild boars in the area two years ago following a road kill on Bear Swamp Road.
The severity of the situation escalated last summer when landowners who suspected deer were damaging their sweet corn came across 18 wild boars grazing in the cornfield one night.
"Since that time, we've been trying different methods to eradicate all of them," Reed said. "We've taken some by trapping, some by shooting, but we're hoping our trapping efforts will prove successful. We hope to be wrapped up by planting season."
A dozen animals have been killed, including two struck by vehicles on the road, but Reed said he does not know how many swine may remain in the area. Officials do know that the animals are breeding in the wild.
Although there is no clear way of knowing how the wild boars came to be on the property, Reed said there is a nearby property owner who raises wild boars that he sells to shooting preserves. A few boars could have escaped from that location and are now breeding in the wild.
One of the boars already killed weighed in at 300 pounds, and Reed said there is probably at least one more animal larger than that remaining on the loose.
The animals are covered with a layer of dark hair, and both males and females grow tusks as adults.
"They're kind of a dangerous animal," Reed said. "They have a nasty disposition when wounded or cornered. They are not going to come out and attack for no reason, but they have been known to attack people in other areas."
Wild-boar numbers have mushroomed in some areas of the southern United States, where those attacks have occurred. No attacks on humans have been reported locally, Reed said.
DEC has offered to give any wild boar killed to property owners for the meat. The wild species tastes similar to domestic pigs, Reed noted.
Email Jeff Meyers at: email@example.com