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He Treats Wild Boars With Lots Of Respect
Mention wild boar and most people think of the perils of wild boar hunts that many writers have detailed.
Ray Anderson says wild boar are every bit as dangerous as stories indicate. He knows. Since 1981, he has raised Russian Wild Boar on his farm near Declo, Idaho.
"A friend from Nebraska told me about the pigs," Anderson says. "A truckload of 50 of them were enroute to Hollywood for a movie. I met the trailer in Cheyenne, Wyo., and was allowed to take one boar and two sows off the truck."
Since then, Anderson has had probably 100 pigs in his barn at different times, all of them descendants of those first three wild boars.
Why raise Russian Wild Boar?
"My wife Judy's been asking me the same thing," he says. "I just enjoy them. I've sold the weaners, and donated some to wild game dinners. Some have been used to crossbreed with domestic pigs.
"They're very good eating. The meat tastes a lot like the pork we're all familiar with, except that it's a little richer and has just a touch of wild taste to it," he explains.
Anderson keeps his Russian Wild Boars carefully penned, and his son Jeff, 12, who tends them, treats the animals with healthy respect.
"In the wild, they hunt you at the same time you hunt them," Anderson says. "Both the boars and sows are equally dangerous, but especially the sows if they have young."
For that reason, Anderson did not want cameras or visitors around his two sows at present. Both were on the verge of littering.
His son Jeff agreed.
"A sow will kill a boar," he says. "They can move fast, too. One of our first sows chased me all around her pen before I got out. She had little ones in there with her. They'll also chase all other animals away."
Just like domestic pigs, wild boars give birth four months minus four days after breeding. In the wild, there are generally only three or four animals to a litter, but Anderson's captive sows produce eight to 10 pig litters.
"Their birth weight is only about 1 lbs.," he says. "We can't be sure because you can't get hold of them for at least the first week to weigh them. The sows turn really furious if they have to protect their young, and they will even eat their babies if they're too disturbed.
"The boars are about a year old before you can really see their tusks, but they have them," Anderson notes. "They have tusks in both their upper and lower jaw, but it's the lower ones you see, since they curve upward. The pigs attack with the side of their snout with an upward, tearing motion, in order to catch their enemy with those tusks. Even the young will make this instinctive motion with their heads."
Though small at birth, the boars quickly gain, and weights of more than 1,000 lbs. have been recorded, he said. When his biggest boar was slaughtered, it weighed 540 lbs. The head and hide alone weighed 135 lbs.
The breed originally came to America with the Spanish.
"The Spanish turned the boars and Merino sheep out on some islands off the California coast to have fresh meat for their ships during the early days of exploration," he said.

(Reprinted courtesy Capital Press, Salem, Oregon.)

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #1