Here's an article from the Aberdeen paper:
Open season on feral pigs??
By Terry Loney - Daily world writer
Montesano - Herds of feral pigs are running amok on the Olympic Peninsula, and the state Department of Fish & Wildlife is hoping hunters will help control them.
No hunting license is required, but caution is urged. Wild pigs have been known to attack people.
The pigs were once farm animals that escaped or were released and have gone wild. Pigs are not native to North America.
Their numbers are increasing dramatically on the peninsula, and like many non - native invaders, their presence is damaging the environment.
Jack Smith, wildlife manager at Fish & Wildlife Region 6 Headquarters in Montesano, said the pigs are damaging sections of the Wynooche River Valley and areas in and around the Quinault Indian Reservation.
"They tear up native vegetation and are damaging rare plants," Smith said. The omnivorous animals "eat anything they come across." This puts them in direct competition for food with most native animals in the peninsula.
For example, when bears wake from their winter sleep, they feed on the carcasses of winter - killed deer and elk. Unfortunately, the wild pigs eat them before the bears wake up.
The pigs also damage crops at area farms, Smith said.
Pigs are partial to living near rivers and in marshes.
"They like to be around water. That tends to be where the deepest, softest soils are," Smith said. They use their snouts to dig up tubers, a delicacy to a pig.
Pigs rooting about in the soft soil often causes increased runoff into salmon creeks and streams. That covers the gravel beds that are so important to salmon reproduction.
Smith said there are three theories about how the wild pigs came to the Olympic Peninsula.
For one, there is evidence that Russian traders swapped Russian boars for salmon in the 1800s.
"The pigs on the Quinault look a lot like Russian wild boars," Smith noted.
The second theory is that the pigs are descendants of pigs from area farms. As settlers moved onto the peninsula, they brought pigs with them. Some of those pigs may have been crafty enough to escape.
The third idea is that they came from a wild game farm that was located near the Wynooche River around the turn of the century. A portion of the farm animals are rumored to have been wild boars from Eastern Europe.
"When it went defunct they were (supposed to have been) released," the wildlife manager said.
While there has never been a census of the pigs, Smith said there is strong evidence their number has increased dramatically in the past two years.
He said reports have been received about the pigs being on the Quinault Reservation for more than 20 years, and there is even a report from 1949. The Wynooche River Valley has been known to have them for some time, he added.
In the last two years the pigs have spread to areas north and south the reservation, and to the Wishkah and west fork of the Satsop river valleys, Smith noted.
"For some reason we had exceptional conditions for these creatures," the wildlife manager said, theorizing that the population increase may be due to the mild winters during the past two years.
While data does not exist for how fast the pigs breed in the wild, pigs on farms are known to have litters of eight to 15 piglets at a time. And they can have more than one litter in a year.
"There is the potential they could do the same," in the wild, Smith said.
Regardless of their origin, the pigs now resemble traditional wild boars in every respect. Even those that may have escaped from farms have long since lost their pink skin.
Smith said their bodies are covered in thick, coarse dark hair. The adults have tusks.
Hunters are encouraged to harvest the pigs. Smith said that since they are non - native creatures, hunting of them is unregulated. But hunting wild pigs should be undertaken with the same caution used to hunt bears, the wildlife manager added.
While a shotgun, bow or muzzle loader - you name it - can be used, Smith recommends a rifle. But anything that can be used to kill a deer can kill a wild pig, he added.
No one at the Quinault Reservation could be reached for comment on hunting pigs on the reservation, but restrictions for non - tribal hunters may apply.
Dick Gates, owner of Western Sports Unlimited in Montesano, has become the unofficial information officer for the pig harvesting in the Wynooche Valley at the urging of Smith.
Gates said so far this year 51 pigs have been taken from the Wynooche River Valley. "That's just the ones I know of for sure that were harvested," he said, adding not everyone reports to him.
While a few of the pigs have weighed in at about 200 pounds, the "average is about 75 pounds" cleaned, he said.
Few of the pigs he has seen have had tusks.
Smith said that is because most of the harvested pigs were too young to have grown them.
Gates said most of the harvested pigs have been taken from the 88 Canyon Road north to the School House Road.
The 88 Canyon road is 13 miles up the river valley.
Most are harvested off Weyerhaeuser land, near rivers and creeks, he said, noting a few have been found in marshes.
"I have heard of quite a few taken off the upper Donovan Road," near the Wishkah River this year, he said.
Evening and early morning are the best times to hunt them, Gates said.
Take note: Permission is needed from private land owners to hunt on their land.
Interest in hunting the pigs is growing. "I would say I've received 20 to 25 phone calls a day from all over the state," Gates said.
He added he has also been interviewed by hunting magazines published in Oregon and Washington.
For more information on the pigs, call Gates at 249 - 2610.
Smith said ideally the hunt will rid the Olympics of the wild pigs, but he admits that is not likely.
"The most we can hope for is to keep their numbers at a very low level," the wildlife manager said. "If they get out of control, which they show every sign of doing, they could be a serious problem."