We had some uninvited and most unwelcome guests at Fox Hill Hollow this Christmas, guests that were not entirely happy about us turning up and ruining their party! These guests were feral pigs, lots of them!
Picture above is from the Cowra Guardian who, in 2014 reported on the issue of rising pig numbers – they are bad news indeed! Read more here.
I knew that pigs had been around the place from the patches of flattened grass and areas of recently turned earth but I was oblivious to the fact that these naughty little critters were still camping out at my place until I faced them head-on during my early morning swim in the dam.
I’d taken Maisy and Nicki on a walk around the property at first light and neither dog had alerted me to the piggy surprise at that point and so when we reached the damn I took off my clothes and slid in for a refreshing swim. It was then, in all my vulnerability that I spotted them, well to be fair Maisy spotted them first and went charging off to chase them, well at least that’s how it started. She didn’t get far before she realised her mistake and that’s when my ears pricked up! I heard the pigs before I saw them but then I saw them, coming straight to me as the big daddy beasts chased my by now scared-out-of-her-skin Maisy back towards me – what on earth she thought I would do is beyond me! I had no weapon, I hadn’t even got my knickers on hahahahahahahahaha!
Lucky for me the pigs turned back giving me enough time to pick up my clothes and hike it back to the main living area where I’d hatch a plan.
There looked to be around 20 pigs in the heard, some of which were big and scary looking while others were clearly babies. I soon made up my mind that our place had become a nursery and a luxurious one at that having plentiful long grass thanks to the long wet winter followed by the relatively late summer heat, a large and accessible water source (the dam) and relative peace and safety (until we came along).
Something had to be done!
I don’t have a gun but after owning property for a while I can see why people do.
I read up on pigs to see if they might have infected the water that I was swimming in (it’s a possibility), if they would attack a human (entirely possible, especially when there’s young around), if they could kill a human (again yes), if they could climb trees (probably not, there’s my chance!), how to repel them from your land (good fencing is a start although a big male can barge through most things – making the landscape less attractive is a better plan, shooting them probably the ultimate solution if you have a gun and can catch them all before they disperse….) and finally if you can eat them (yes you can). I felt like I’d entered a war zone naked. I wasn’t far wrong…..
Later that day towards sunset Meg and I took another walk around the block and spied two brazen little piglets walking down our boundary fence! I thought these things were supposed to be secretive! I kept the dogs on leads thinking that where there are babies there will be a mother and possibly a fat and tusky father just behind. The piglets squeezed under the gap in the fence to the neighbours property and disappeared into the undergrowth.
A couple of weeks later we were back with ammo and a mission to find and destroy the pigs. If that sounds pretty damn bloodthirsty it isn’t meant to but if you saw the damage that these feral creatures do to the beautiful woodland you would understand – it would be less damaging to hold a motocross weekend on the land with a bunch of rev-heads I’m sure!
While I’d completely got my head around the fact that these pigs might end up as dead meat I was quite glad that to find they had moved on from our land and saved themselves for the time being. That said, I was unhappy to realise that those little babies would soon be big and would, in time add their input into the feral pig population of the Central Tablelands. On the way home I googled ‘getting a gun licence’ and tried to work out if now was the time to become better prepared. I think it probably is.
In the meantime though we spent the Australia Day long weekend repairing holes in fences and generally pig-proofing the property to the best of our abilities in the hope that we don’t have a repeat of this every breeding season but at least if we do have this again I’ll be better equip to deal with it – at least mentally.
Maisy and Nicki checking out our border protection policy – we’ve built a fance, it is the best of fences, a truly great fence and the pigs are gonna pay for it if they come a crashing in!