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December 17, 2015     The Woodville Republican
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December 17, 2015
 

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Page 14B The Woodville Republican, Thursday, December 17, 2015 Half-Truths, Myths About Wild Pigs In The State by Bill Hamrick W'ddlife Biologist MSU Extension Service A great deal of my time with the Mississippi State University Extension Ser- vice has been spent raising public awareness about wild pig problems. During this time I've lis- tened to a lot of stories and read a lot of articles about wild pigs and have encoun- tered quite a few myths and half-truths about these often destructive pests. While most articles and news reports are pretty ac- curate, some come up a little short in presenting all of the information. In some cases, this is a result of seneationalized writing to get more website visits or "hits." In others, it's a matter of focusing on the "wow" factor, and the report- er doesn't present the quali- fying statement. While wild pigs are a definite problem, I want to address some of the misinformation surrounding them. Myth: A wild hog can have up to three fitters of pigs in a year. While this statement is somewhat true, conditions have to be right -- very right -- for it to happen in the wild. Pigs, both domestic and wild, are biologically capable of producing three lit-ters in about 14 months. While such high reproductive rates can be achieved in commercial swine operations, where nu- trition is steady and breeding is controlled, it just doesn't work that way in the wild. Can it happen in the wild? Possibly, but it would be an extremely rare event: lAmit- ing factors include nutrition, fertility and the presence of sexually mature boars when sows are receptive to breed- ing. In reality, most wild sows have one fitter per year. On occasion, a few sows will produce two fitters per year. WILD HOGS CROSS HIGHWAY- Many myths and half-truths surround the invasive wild hog popula- tion, including the notion that hogs will not cross a paved road, as an entire herd of them are seen doing in this photo taken in the Mississippi Delta. --- Photo courtesy of Delta Wildlife Even at this rate, there is a potential for high pig production. For example, as- sume that there are 20 sows in an area. If each sow pro- duces one litter of pigs and an average of four pigs per litter survive to adulthood, that's 80 pigs per year. Now, let's say 40 of these pigs are female, and we allow this cycle to continue unchecked for three years. Even without exaggerating their reproduc- tive rate, that's a lot of pigs! It's just not as many as some articles make it out to be. Myth: Wild hogs are sexu- ally mature at 6 months of age. In some cases, individual pigs are capable of reproduc- ing as early as 6 months of age. But, just as in humans, early maturation occurs on an individual basis. Myth: We don't worry about the wild pigs over here. The river keeps them from crossing ove~ onto our side. Wild hogs swim pretty well. Even the Mississippi River is not a barrier to wild hog movements. Whether it is to escape danger or through natural dispersal in search of food and/or more suitable habitat, hogs can cross rivers if they need to. Myth: Wild hogs won't cross that blacktop road. We've had them for years on this side of the road but have never seen any hogs or hog sign on the other side. There is photographic evi- dence of pigs crossing major highways, and there have been vehicle collisions with pigs in many parts of the country. However, there are some cases where ~ld hogs have lived on one side of a highway or road for years but, for whatever reason, have yet to cross over to property on the other side. It's strange, and I don't have a solid explanation for this behavior. My best guess is that the very fringe of their home range is somewhere along that side of the high- way. Or, for some reason, they just don't like the other side of the road or highway. Whatever the reason, my ad- vice is to keep a watchfi~ eye. Myth: If a wild hog es- capes from a trap, youll nev- er catch it again. Several graduate stu- dents and I proved this statement wrong just a few months ago. According to a colleague from another state, if you're trying to capture and remove a group of pigs, and you only catch a couple of them, let them out of the trap, and they all will come back. while researching some trapping techniques, we had a similar situation with a pair of boars that were visiting the trap. We caught one of them but missed the other, so we decided to re- lease the one we captured. Sure enough, several nights later they both returned to the trap, and we successfully captured both of them. Will this work with every pig you catch and release? I think this probably doesn't hold true for every pig and depends on what the pig ex- periences while inside the trap. Was it harassed? Did it have to stay in the trap for a long time before it was released? Are you shooting at pigs and hunting them with dogs while you're trying to trap? Most likely, it's based on individual situations and the animals' previous experi- ences. Another explanation is that sometimes you come across a "Yogi Pig" -- one that's smarter than the aver- age pig. In closing, this column is east It's a serious issue for many crop producers and a threat to many of our native wildlife species. However, in today's world, being the first to report something and getting the information out quickly sometimes overshad- ows making sure the whole story is told. We do want to increase public awareness about the seriousness of the damage wild pigs cause to row crops and the threat they pose to livestock production and na- tive wildlife species. But we also want to maintain cred- not intended to make fight of ibility and be sure the infor- the wild pig problem in our mation in our messages is state and across the South- accurate. o-ho-hope It's no secret we owe our success to great customers like you. We appreciate your support, and we wish you a merry Christmas! Vine Bros. Restaurant 115 Hwy. 24 E Centreville Virus Can Hold Your Smart Phone For Ransom Many people think that viruses only affect com- puters, but scammers are increasingly targeting smartphones with malware seams. Watch out for a con that uses malware to lock ~t, ims', phones and asks ~em,,to l~y,to flxit. Cur- rently, this particular seam seems limited to iPhones and iPad users on Safari, but all smartphones users can be targeted. How the Seam Works: You are using the Inter- net on your smartphone, and suddenly the browser freezes. A pop up appears saying: "Warning IOS Crash Report. Due to a third party application your phone iOS crashed." The pop-up instructs you to call a "customer support" num- ber immediately to fix this issue. If you call, "toch support" staff will offer to fix your phone.., for a fee. Victims re- port that scammers charge about $60. This type of real- ware is known as ransom- ware. These viruses freeze the device and prompt the victim to pay to unlock it. Protect Your Mobile Phone from Ransom- ware The National Cyber Se- curity Alliance offers these suggestions, for keeping your mobile device clean of viruses and malware~. Protect all devices connected to the Inter- net. Computers, smart- phones, gaming systems, tablets and other web-en- abled devices all need pro- tection from viruses and malware. Keep your mobile de- vices up-to-date. Down- load operating system, app and security upgrades as they are available (you should receive a notification on your device). Be cautious. Secure your phone and other devices with a password. Protect your privacy. Review privacy policies be- fore you download a new app, and make sure you un- derstand what the app can access on your phone (con- tacts, photos, social media, location, etc.). Be savvy about Wi- Fi. When you are on-line through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the informa- tion you release. Limit the business you conduct at hotspots (wait to do your banking from a secure net- work). When in doubt, don't respond. Scammers may reach out by email, text, voicemail, even social me- dia posts. Be very cautious giving out personal infor- mation and never share ac- count numbers. For More Information To learn more about pro- tecting your mobile devices, go to StaySafeOnline. To quickly clear pop- up "warnings" from your iPhone, follow these steps from the technology news site ZDNet. G ETINGS At this special time of year, we'd like to thank our friends and customers for stopping here Your visits and your kind support fill us with joy" and gratitude at the holidays and all year. So without further ado, we wish a merry Christmas to each and every one of you. May it be filled with good times and good people, and may the coming year bring many blessings to you and your loved ones. All the best! State Farm Insurance Jacob Poole, Agent Hwy. 24 Liberty. 601-657-4375 # # I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I t % i i i i i i i ~ i i i i i Start My ! ! one-year subscription to I The Woodville Republican | , Yes, I want to subscribe! I Renew my subscription[ I I Date: I I Name: I I Address: | I I I I State: Zip: II I Phone: | I I The Woodville Republican I P.O. Box 696 Woodville, MS 39669 I 601-888-4293 j # ~ mm mm mm mm m mm m m mm mm mm mm m ~