Pig Heaven

Assault Rifles Won’t Solve Your Feral Hog Problem, Say Scientists

The timing of this new feral hog study really couldn’t be any better.

8. 7. 19 by Kristin Houser
Richard Bartz
Image by Richard Bartz

In the wake of two deadly mass shootings, singer-songwriter Jason Isbell posted a tweet on Sunday asserting that the people arguing about the definition of “assault weapon” on Twitter don’t actually need the guns.

The next day, Twitter user William McNabb replied with a tweet seemingly suggesting that he does need an assault weapon — to kill the “30-50 feral hogs” that run into the yard where his children play.

And thus a new internet meme was born.

With that backstory established, imagine you’re a pair of Clemson University scientists who just spent countless hours researching the very real problem feral hogs pose to farmers — and your study is set to publish on Tuesday.

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What are the chances?

Strange timing aside, according to the study, which was published in the journal PLOS Biology, feral hogs are an often-overlooked threat to livestock and crops, with most human-wildlife conflict research focusing on predators such as tigers and wolves.

But while the Clemson researchers don’t deny that wild hogs are a problem for many Americans, they’re quick to note that McNabb’s suggestion of taking an assault rifle to a herd of “30-50” of the critters won’t solve it.

“That’s what we would call opportunistic hunting of hogs,” researcher Shari Rodriguez told Inverse. “So while you may get an animal or two, it’s a drop in the bucket. It really does nothing to decrease the population of hogs.”

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What might work, according to Rodriguez: flashing lights, rope fences strung with flags, and food baits placed far away from wherever you don’t want the hogs to be.

So, in McNabb’s case, it seems that would be anywhere your kids don’t play.

READ MORE: The Scientific Reason Assault Rifles Are a Bad Way to Kill 30-50 Feral Hogs [Inverse]

More on feral hogs: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Is Infested With Feral Hogs. Really.

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