Nov. 02, 2004
Wild boar still roams Douglas County
A man says a boar attacked his dog and killed a neighbor's chickens near the Amnicon River.
BY JOHN MYERS, DULUTH NEWS TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
A wild boar came into a yard and attacked a dog and later killed some chickens off Wisconsin Highway 13 in Douglas County over the weekend.
The big boar, estimated at nearly 500 pounds by one resident, may be a surviving member of several boars that escaped from a local game farm in 2001. Several were seen, photographed and shot in northern Douglas County during that summer. Few reports have surfaced since then, and it was assumed most had been killed or perished during the region's hard winters.
"I was in the house and heard it going after my dog. At first, I thought it was the biggest bear I had ever seen. It had to go 500 pounds," said Rick Alaspa, who videotaped the big boar at his home on Amnicon River Road. "It wasn't afraid of me at all.... And when it left here, it went to my neighbors and killed some of his chickens."
The encounter happened Saturday morning. The dog wasn't badly hurt, Alaspa said.
He moved to his Lakeside Township home two years ago and hadn't heard about the 2001 escape. Alaspa said local residents, especially those with children, should be warned that at least one of the animals is still around.
Fred Strand, DNR wildlife manager for the region, said he hadn't heard any reports since 2001 -- until October.
"Just a few weeks ago, a gentleman called and wondered if he could shoot one if he saw it again. The answer is, absolutely. We don't want them out there," Strand said. "We weren't aware of any still out there. But there may well be. Some may have survived, or this could be a new (escapee.) We really have no way of knowing."
An estimated four to 22 boars escaped from a game farm on Windy Lane in Cloverland Township in May 2001. DNR officials at the time had hoped for stricter state laws that would require game farms to keep track of such animals and be responsible for any escapees.
Those laws were approved in 2002, and new state rules currently are being drafted to account for exotic wild animals, said Sarah Shapiro Hurley, deputy administrator of the Wisconsin DNR land division.
The new rules require game farms to list the type of animals they have. Eventually, state rules could allow the DNR to list wild boars as a harmful wild species and require specific fencing or even prohibit the animals altogether, Shapiro Hurley said.
Wild boars, descendants of captive species centuries ago, are common in some southern states. They aren't native to Wisconsin. They are known for their aggressive behavior, large size, large tusks and the damage they cause to native plants on the forest floor as the big animals root for food.
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
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