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Author Topic: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF  (Read 1626 times)

Offline Antlershed

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Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« on: December 27, 2017, 08:08:15 AM »
Article the Chronicle just ran about pig issues in GPNF over the last couple years.

http://www.chronline.com/wild-pigs-reported-in-gifford-pinchot-national-forest-for-second/article_391c9700-e9d6-11e7-b297-07099c7b15bf.html

Quote
Wild Pigs Reported in Gifford Pinchot National Forest for Second Year in a Row
Invasive Species: Local Incidents Add Perspective to National Plight
By Jordan Nailon / jnailon@chronline.com Dec 25, 2017
 
For the second year in a row, reports of wild swine running loose in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest have proven that East Lewis County really is where the wild things roam.
In the summer of 2016, as many as 15 pigs were reported near Hugo Lake south of Randle. Not long thereafter, reports from members of the Backcountry Horsemen indicated that hogs had been making a mess of things at nearby Chambers Lake.
A joint eradication effort conducted by multiple state agencies is believed to have been successful in removing those pigs from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in 2016, but a report from a citizen in September of this year indicated that hogs may have began to root around in the South Prairie area of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near the Columbia River gorge, also known as the Lost Meadow.
Those reports have arisen at the same time that the Invasive Species Council is sounding the alarm on the dangers posed by feral swine as they continue to spread their range across North America. Statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture show established populations of feral swine in more than 30 states, including Oregon and Idaho, as well as British Columbia, which leaves Washington prone to invasion on three sides.
In order to help combat the spread of wild pigs, the Invasive Species Council has established a “Squeal on a Pig” toll-free hotline where citizens can report sightings of feral swine. If left unchecked, it is estimated that wild pigs could cause as much as $6.5 billion in damage in Washington alone.
The most recent sighting in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest is technically still unconfirmed but evidence at the sighting area seems to indicate that pigs were indeed there this fall. Justin Bush, executive coordinator for the Invasive Species Council, noted that members of the Ecological Society of America went on a field trip to the Lost Meadow, about 5 miles west of Trout Lake, in September and reported finding a muddy mess and scat that reminded one traveler visiting from Europe of disturbances caused by European boars.
The Chronicle obtained e-mails from the agencies involved in the effort through a public records request.
Then, on Oct. 2, Laurence Schafer, the USDA Wildlife Services feral swine coordinator, sent out an email to U.S. Forest Service and Invasive Species Council staff noting that he “spoke to a gentleman who said he saw a large, black pig about 30 yards away at the campground off of Leidl Bridge (along the Klickitat River) this weekend. The man has been camping there for decades and never seen or heard of a pig around there before.”
In that email, Schafer added that several years prior he received reports and photos of feral swine near Goldendale, about 15 miles away as the crow flies.
Once those reports were received, wildlife officials including the Invasive Species Council and the U.S. Forest Service began working together to try to confirm the presence of pigs in the forest. Trail cameras were even set up and baited with sour mash, but no hogs ever appeared.
While the source of the damage was left unconfirmed, members of the U.S. Forest Service hold competing theories for what could be behind the considerable muck in the Lost Meadow. Those theories range from a deranged bear to an over-excited elk. Still, nearly everyone who observed the damage agreed that pigs appeared to be the most likely culprit.
“I still like my bear theory, as unlikely as it is. Still in denial that it could be feral swine, but everything points like it,” wrote U.S. Forest Service biotech Jennifer DeShong in an email to multiple U.S. Forest Service staff members on Oct. 4 of this year.
In another email from DeShong to Schafer, written in the immediate aftermath of this year’s report of feral swine she noted, Deshong wrote, “We are both still trying to convince ourselves it is just a big crazy elk but after looking at it, it is hard to believe that. Still trying and hoping. We were asking ourselves, if this is swine damage where did they go and where are they now? Let’s all hope it is the giant big elk that one of the hunters says he’s been chasing around the last couple days.”
Bush noted that some signs alerting people to be on the lookout for feral swine were posted in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest right around the time that the report came. He believes they are still hanging in various areas of the forest despite the lack of calls they’ve been generating lately.
“It could be that there are feral swine in the forest but there is nothing to indicate that,” said Bush.
 
While this year’s official hunt for hogs in the south Gifford Pinchot National Forest came up empty handed, that was not the case in Lewis County last year. On July 11, 2016, the Washington Invasive Species Council received a report from a citizen that they had encountered six feral swine while driving on a road near Hugo Lake. That information, including several photos from the reporting party, was then shared with Shafer, and a concerted eradication effort was undertaken in the following weeks.
Ultimately, as many as six males, two mature females and approximately eight piglets were reported in the vicinity of the rock pit near Forest Road 21 and Hugo Lake.
On July 14, Schafer was able to shoot and kill three of the pigs at the rock pit. Around that same time, a member of the general public was credited with capturing two of the males and relocating them to a farm.
All together, reports indicated that the public may have been responsible for removing as many as seven of those pigs, but an official number was never confirmed.
Due to the ability of loose hogs to travel quickly and hunker down, officials are still unsure if last year’s efforts were completely successful, but they do believe they were able to get as many of the swine as possible.
In an email from Schafer to Carol Chandler, invasive plant program manager for the U.S. Forest Service, on July 19, Schafer noted, “We are very lucky that the citizen thought to report the sighting, found the ‘squeal on a pig’ link and actually made the report. Because of that, the pigs were right where he had seen them and quite tame … Had it taken a few extra weeks for us to get word and coordinate a response, the situation could have been much worse, which is what happened to us in eastern Washington last November. We are still chasing 1-2 feral swine out there and there was a litter born in the wild.”
So far, all of the feral swine discovered in Washington are believed to be domestic stock that were dumped in the wild, which land managers consider to be on par with illegal littering or dumping.
“Escaped domestics quickly revert to having feral tendencies and it’s highly likely that the eastern Washington population was a group of domestic escapees who reverted to wild,” explained Bush.
That sounder of hogs in the Desert Wildlife Area of eastern Washington back in 2016 drew a large scale response from the state as they attempted to eradicate all of the known pigs. Per the national action plan, all feral swine are to be dealt with lethally with no options for relocation. Despite those sustained efforts, there is still at least one female pig believed to be running loose in the Desert Wildlife Area. Prior to that outbreak, Washington was one of a minority of states without any confirmed population of feral swine.
When the hogs near Hugo Lake were first reported last year, the Invasive Species Council offered up informational signs to authorities at the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in hopes of educating the public on the possible presence of wild pigs. Those overtures were initially turned down due to concerns about public relations.
“Posting this in a family campground before we have any evidence of a danger to the public is not something I am comfortable with,” wrote Gar Abbas, district ranger in the Cowlitz Valley District, in an email to Schafer in the summer of 2016. “If the swine persist out there and become a danger, then would be the time to consider this.”
A few weeks later, Jack Thorne, public services assistant for the U.S. Forest Service, noted in an email to Schafer that doubled down on the Forest Service’s reluctance to admit their problem with pigs on the lam. That email read, in part, “Much more common than released wild pigs are lost horses, dogs, llamas, goats and possibly other more domestic animals, pets, or even fish. A message about the impacts of these animals and your role in managing all ‘invasive’ or non-native wildlife species on the National Forest would be great.”
Still, an email from U.S. Forest Service staffer John Jakubowski to colleague Dave Olson on Aug. 8 manages to capture the importance of mustering an appropriate response.
“I agree this was handled pretty well. Good learning experience and wake up call. I never would have thought to have something like this occur here. We sure don’t want to be known for being the place where a wild pig invasion in Washington state began,” wrote Jakubowski.
Representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, the WDFW and the Invasive Species Council are all in agreement that the threat of feral swine should always be dealt with swiftly and decisively when specific reports are available, but there is dissention in the ranks about what constitutes the best approach. While members of the public were credited with removing members of the pig pod near Hugo Lake last year, some officials would prefer to keep public hog hunters out of the picture.
In an email from August 2016, Jack Thorne noted that, “Because of the activities of our fellow Federal and State officers, please do not go into the area to hunt pigs or encourage others to do so. They would prefer to keep this as quiet as possible for the safety of all involved.”
That directive came on the heels of a request from the WDFW and USDA to try to keep the public away from area with reports of unsolicited pigs. That message read, “USDA and WDF(W) are trained to eradicate pigs and would rather do it themselves then (sic) have others scare pigs who quickly go feral.”
In response to that directive, Thorne replied, “The WDFW was initially contacted and their position was that the pigs were not protected nor were they a game species. Hence, there was no early direction on what to do especially with regard to hunting, killing, harassing or dispersal. It became an ‘open season’ resulting in a significant amount of private activities that may have assisted or ultimately hindered the actions of the USDA.”
Thorne suggested clarifying the laws and regulations that govern the hunting of feral swine in Washington in order to help alleviate that confusion in the future.
The U.S. Forest Service’s thoughts on the subject are perhaps best summed up in an email from Ranger Gar Abbas to Lewis County Sheriff’s detective Gene Seiber from July 13, 2016. Part of that email read, “(WDFW) asked if the Forest Service wanted to restrict, prohibit, or otherwise manage what happens to the pigs, and our response is that we don’t regulate hunting. For our purposes, the pigs are essentially abandoned property illegally deposited on the National Forest. We have no ability to recover, keep, or return the pigs to unknown owners. So, we have no objection to hunting/shooting the pigs, particularly since potential development of a viable population could have significant adverse environmental consequence.”
Abbas sent a follow up email to Forest Service staff the next day.
“Most of you are aware of a number of domestic pigs which were released in the area of Butte Top Quarry, FR 2140. Although considered somewhat humorous and somewhat serious, with personnel from the District, Lewis county sheriff’s Office, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife involved as well as members of the public, it is in fact very serious,” read part of the email. “Prior to this case, Washington was proud to be a ‘feral swine-free state’ with the exception of one pair being hunted on the eastside. So this is a big deal.”
Over at the Washington Invasive Species Council, Justin Bush is encouraged that he has been able to establish contacts and working relationships with agencies in Western Washington before feral swine start encroaching on the state from neighboring territories and inflicting even more damage than those abandoned domestic pigs.
“I work with all sorts of invasive species in my positions,” said Bush.
“Feral swine are one of the few that I feel like we can put a small amount of resources into and protect a large amount of resources.”
To report sightings of feral swine in Washington, Oregon or Idaho call 1-888-268-9219. Additional information on feral swine can be found online at invasivespecies.wa.gov/council_projects/squealonpigs.shtml.
-Brent

Hedden’s Laser, Glass and Plasma Works LLC
https://www.facebook.com/HeddensLaserGlassPlasmaWorksLLC

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2017, 08:26:17 AM »
As of 2015, feral hogs cause approximately $1.5bn damage nationwide. The article states that pigs could cause "$6.5bn in WA alone." It's hard to take an article seriously when it's poorly written.

I do think that if hogs aren't a problem in WA yet (doubtful), it's only a matter of time until they are. If they are, I'd love the chance to dump one in the woods. Not seeing any elk or deer, so what the heck? They probably be selling tags before long.  :dunno:

Thanks for posting. I think this was inevitable, eventually.
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline Antlershed

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2017, 08:41:15 AM »
The $6.5 billion was taken from the Economic Impact Study that was completed in January 2017, and is the total value of all crops and livestock in WA State that would be at-risk if Feral Swine were to become established here. The article says “could cause”. Could have provided more details for what they were trying to convey.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 08:47:55 AM by Antlershed »
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Offline lamrith

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2017, 08:44:15 AM »
Not to mention the biologist thinking and hoping their theories about wild bears and elk are the real cause?
This is science and wildlife not a damn fairy tale!
Quote
“I still like my bear theory, as unlikely as it is. Still in denial that it could be feral swine, but everything points like it,” wrote U.S. Forest Service biotech Jennifer DeShong in an email to multiple U.S. Forest Service staff members on Oct. 4 of this year. "

Last I heard/read was that as of right now there are no regs on pigs in WA and they are not classified as game animals, which given the way our State Constitution is written means they can be taken at any time, no permit needed.  Anyone have any confirmation on this?

Offline Antlershed

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2017, 08:45:59 AM »
Last I heard/read was that as of right now there are no regs on pigs in WA and they are not classified as game animals, which given the way our State Constitution is written means they can be taken at any time, no permit needed.  Anyone have any confirmation on this?
That is true, but there are some who would like to see that change.
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Offline JimmyHoffa

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 08:48:53 AM »
As of 2015, feral hogs cause approximately $1.5bn damage nationwide. The article states that pigs could cause "$6.5bn in WA alone." It's hard to take an article seriously when it's poorly written.

I do think that if hogs aren't a problem in WA yet (doubtful), it's only a matter of time until they are. If they are, I'd love the chance to dump one in the woods. Not seeing any elk or deer, so what the heck? They probably be selling tags before long.  :dunno:

Thanks for posting. I think this was inevitable, eventually.
The way wild pigs inhale all the mushrooms, I'd imagine you would be the top pig slayer.

Offline lamrith

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2017, 08:56:25 AM »
The $6.5 billion was taken from the Economic Impact Study that was completed in January 2017, and is the total value of all crops and livestock in WA State that would be at-risk if Feral Swine were to become established here. I agree, not a great comparison by the author.
That is true, but there are some who would like to see that change.
Exactly the problem, sounds like a great way/reason for them to leverage things and start selling tags to soak hunters for more $, inflate the number because WA always has to be #1 in everything.

What needs to happen is educate everyone on the problem, declare them open season without licensing(maaaaaaybe just need license at the very most, but no tag like Coyotes) and eradicate them with extreme prejudice before they can take root.  Feral swine is a very significant threat to the agriculture industry in this state if they are allowed to establish themselves.  I have friends in TX and other southern states and Hogs are a serious problem, and so prevalent that they are often able to bag on on the way to/from work each day without going out of their way.  Habitat is bad enough for our resident game, last thing we need is pigs tearing up and consuming the limited resources.

Offline boneaddict

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2017, 09:02:06 AM »
They used to be in the regs.  Can’t remember to what extent....

Offline REHJWA

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2017, 09:16:41 AM »
Before long hogs will be the only thing left for the wolves. Both invasive species.

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2017, 09:26:34 AM »
The $6.5 billion was taken from the Economic Impact Study that was completed in January 2017, and is the total value of all crops and livestock in WA State that would be at-risk if Feral Swine were to become established here. The article says “could cause”. Could have provided more details for what they were trying to convey.

I believe it was a typo and meant to be $6.5M.
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Offline Duckgtr

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2017, 09:27:36 AM »
Maybe WDFW should release some wolves to take care of the pig Problem because it worked so well the last time they let wolves out.

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2017, 09:28:05 AM »
As of 2015, feral hogs cause approximately $1.5bn damage nationwide. The article states that pigs could cause "$6.5bn in WA alone." It's hard to take an article seriously when it's poorly written.

I do think that if hogs aren't a problem in WA yet (doubtful), it's only a matter of time until they are. If they are, I'd love the chance to dump one in the woods. Not seeing any elk or deer, so what the heck? They probably be selling tags before long.  :dunno:

Thanks for posting. I think this was inevitable, eventually.
The way wild pigs inhale all the mushrooms, I'd imagine you would be the top pig slayer.

I would be an enthusiastic pig killer, for sure.
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2017, 09:29:05 AM »
Maybe WDFW should release some wolves to take care of the pig Problem because it worked so well the last time they let wolves out.

It worked on the elk, caribou, mule deer, and moose. Capital idea!
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline 2MANY

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2017, 09:33:14 AM »
Be very careful.
They'll squeal on you every time.
Just sayin.

Offline pianoman9701

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Re: Wild Pigs in Gifford Pinchot NF
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2017, 09:47:35 AM »
 :chuckle:
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

 

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