Pigs, beavers and dogs – when is wildlife too wild?

The farm where we live is beautiful, it’s remote, and it’s rural. But all of those wonderful things I love about living here are now and then balanced against what can be some quite disturbing attributes.

One night last week we heard the dogs going wild about something in our front yard/pasture. Chris opened the door to see five large wild pigs about thirty feet from the front door. He was, quite appropriately, startled and a little shook up. We’ve seen evidence of the pigs for some time now and just a few days before I thought I’d seen a spot of rooting on our side of the creek along the top bluff right next to our North Pasture walking path.

Wild pigs are both a nuisance and destructive. They’ll destroy a crop incredibly fast and make a mess of any ground area they claim by tearing up the soil with more effectiveness than a rototiller. When threatened they quickly become nocturnal, I’ve read. They’re dangerous to both human and livestock. Just Google “wild pigs” and you’ll read about them charging hunters and domestic animals, which gives us pause as we walk around the place.

For more than a year we’ve been hearing shots ring out, usually in the early evening as people in our area are hunting the pigs. Remember this post? Generally speaking we’re pacifists and we don’t own guns. Usually I’m fine with people who hunt for food, although I just don’t think I could pull the trigger myself. But we now have a serious problem with pigs.
After some discussion with a few neighbors and phone calls to the local extension agent, we’ve decided to build and set a trap for the pigs, then allow a local hunter to take the pigs for processing. (We’re talking food, not ear tagging and relocation.)

During the discussion stage, Chris called the monastery next door to see if they’ve had any wild pig problems lately. While the pigs haven’t been a big problem down stream, the Father said that they’ve been having beaver problems. Chris and I were both surprised about this and hadn’t seen any damage on our farm by the beavers in several years.

Early last evening Chris heard three of our four dogs in a ruckus down by the creek. Because it’s winter and there are few leaves on the trees the view from our windows is significantly increased and he could see they had something treed or cornered. He rang the dinner bell and called for Tess who came running up to the house, probably thinking it was dinner time and hoping for some kibble. Her fur was roughed up and wet, and she was excited but quickly settled on her dog bed.

As I began preparing dinner Chris got on the floor for a little close up petting time with Tess. That’s when he discovered she had a small gash on her throat about an inch wide. I looked at it, as much as she allowed, and saw that the fur and skin had been sliced through to the pink tissue below. Because Tess didn’t seem in pain or upset we decided to keep her inside and take her to the vet this morning for stitching.

This afternoon when we picked her up, Doctor Elliott looked at us and said, “You’re not going to believe this but I think your dog was bit by a beaver.” Sure enough there are two cuts along Tess’s throat. The vet said that her hairs by the wounds had been cut short by something sharp — beaver teeth.

Now it seems we have two wildlife problems that we must decide how to address. We’ve already decided for safety reasons that the wild pigs need to go. They multiply quickly and we’ve been complacent entirely too long. While I love my dogs, I’m torn about what to do regarding the beavers. They were here first – like the deer and the rabbits and crows. If you have a good flowing creek you’re likely to have beavers. They come with the territory. If we take measures to move or destroy the beavers aren’t we also destroying the wilderness we love?
Pigs, beavers and dogs – When is wildlife too wild?The farm where we live is beautiful, it’s remote, and it’s rural. But all of those wonderful things I love about living here are now and then balanced against what can be some quite disturbing attributes. One night last week we heard the dogs going wild about something in our front yard/pasture. Chris opened the door to see five large wild pigs about thirty feet from the front door. He was, quite appropriately, startled and a little shook up. We’ve seen evidence of the pigs for some time now and just a few days before I thought I’d seen a spot of rooting on our side of the creek along the top bluff right next to our North Pasture walking path. Wild pigs are both a nuisance and destructive. They’ll destroy a crop incredibly fast and make a mess of any ground area they claim by tearing up the soil with more effectiveness than a rototiller. When threatened they quickly become nocturnal, I’ve read. They’re dangerous to both human and livestock. Just Google “wild pigs” and you’ll read about them charging hunters and domestic animals, which gives us pause as we walk around the place.For more than a year we’ve been hearing shots ring out, usually in the early evening as people in our area are hunting the pigs. Remember this post? (locate previous post) Generally speaking we’re pacifists and we don’t own guns. Usually I’m fine with people who hunt for food, although I just don’t think I could pull the trigger myself. But we now have a serious problem with pigs. After some discussion with a few neighbors and phone calls to the local extension agent, we’ve decided to build and set a trap for the pigs, then allow a local hunter to take the pigs for processing. (We’re talking food, not ear tagging and relocation.) During the discussion stage, Chris called the monastery next door to see if they’ve had any wild pig problems lately. While the pigs haven’t been a big problem down stream, the Father said that they’ve been having beaver problems. Chris and I were both surprised about this and hadn’t seen any beaver damage on our farm by the beavers in several years. Early last evening Chris heard three of our four dogs in a ruckus down by the creek. Because it’s winter and there are few leaves on the trees the view from our windows is significantly increased and he could see they had something treed or cornered. He rang the dinner bell and called for Tess who came running up to the house, probably thinking it was dinner time and hoping for some kibble. Her fur was roughed up and wet, and she was excited but quickly settled on her dog bed. As I began preparing dinner Chris got on the floor for a little close up petting time with Tess. That’s when he discovered she had a small gash on her throat about an inch wide. I looked at it, as much as she allowed, and saw that the fur and skin had been sliced through to the pink tissue below. Because Tess didn’t seem in pain or upset we decided to keep her inside and take her to the vet this morning for stitching. This afternoon when we picked her up, Doctor Elliott looked at us and said, “You’re not going to believe this but I think your dog was bit by a beaver.” Sure enough there are two cuts along Tess’s throat. The vet said that her hairs by the wounds had been cut short by something sharp — beaver teeth.Now it seems we have two wildlife problems that we must decide how to address. We’ve already decided for safety reasons that the wild pigs need to go. They multiply quickly and we’ve been complacent entirely too long. While I love my dogs, I’m torn about what to do regarding the beavers. They were here first – like the deer and the rabbits and crows. If you have a good flowing creek you’re likely to have beavers. They come with the territory. If we take measures to move or destroy the beavers aren’t we also destroying the wilderness we love? var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);pageTracker._trackPageview();

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4 thoughts on “Pigs, beavers and dogs – when is wildlife too wild?

  1. Ooh that's a tough call. I grew up in a family of hunters. Like you, I can't hunt myself – but the results sure are tasty… but beavers… beavers might make good eating, but I don't want to find out.
    Perhaps the dogs will back off on their own… I mean – how badly could a beaver really hurt a dog? And unlike the pigs, the beavers aren't likely to attack – just defend….

  2. Yum, wild boar.
    On the other hand, I'd be tempted to leave the beavers alone. They tend not to attack. Additionally, as my dad can attest, beavers are very hard to shoot.
    Good luck. I hope Tess heals well and quickly. And hopefully learns to keep her distance.

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