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Beware The Wild Hogs

They live among us, pretending to be dogs or cats or ferrets or newspaper publishers.

They engage in furtive sex, as a means to increase their share of market through reproduction.

They lower real estate values wherever they roam, hoping against hope that the plummeting prices will be blamed on recession or zoning boards.

Connecticut has been lucky. We are free of them, thus far. The evil ones know that if they attempted to invade Connecticut, a crusading columnist would ride through the state, much like Paul Revere, announcing that the wild hogs are coming, the wild hogs are coming.

Connecticut? No, Columnist Cohen, you are correct about almost everything, but you can’t possibly be right about this. We have museums, a Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, office towers and industry clusters and even a few Republican legislators. But, wild hogs? We’re never going to have any wild hogs.

Don’t think like that. We are surrounded by wild hogs. Once they figure out the complexities of our open space regulations, they will attack Connecticut, much as they have conquered so many other states.

The Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina, which is sort of the Pentagon and CIA combined when it comes to tracking and doing battle with wild hogs, reports that there are only six states that are hog-free, including Connecticut and neighboring Rhode Island. Much of the rest of the nation is overrun with crazed hogs.

Three of the states with the most established, sophisticated, destructive concentration of wild hogs are Texas, Tennessee and Florida, which suggests that much like everyone else, the hogs have settled and prospered in states with no personal income tax — avoiding Connecticut.

But, as the hogs hire better accountants, they will be prepared to move to high-tax jurisdictions, including nearby Massachusetts and Vermont. The Savannah researchers have found the occasional presence of the wild hogs in Massachusetts and Vermont and Maine and eight other states.

In the most overrun states, entire subdivisions have been taken over by the hogs: the Mississippi and Arkansas and West Virginia kinds of places. And there are states that are in transition, which is to say, the wild hogs are running for public office, but not yet winning anything beyond the occasional county commission seat in Indiana, Kansas and Nebraska, for instance.

It may already be too late for many of these states. The hogs are “opportunistic,” according to the scientists. They will crash your daughter’s wedding, apply for welfare benefits, and eat almost anything. They dig giant holes in the ground and they will run amok in suburban gardens, leaving them looking like Gov. Rell’s legislative agenda.

States have established and expanded hunting seasons for hogs; and sprinkled hog contraceptives in areas where they have been known to park and make out and stuff. Nothing works.

The Savannah Lab researchers advise quick action: hunt them, trap them, declare them ineligible for low-income public housing. Even in hog-free Connecticut, vigilance must be the rule.

In Tennessee last year, after a particularly depraved 2009 in which the hogs mated like Hollywood movie stars, officials at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park removed 602 wild hogs and then offered them to naïve states such as Connecticut.

In Texas, a state legislator has proposed labeling the hogs livestock “predators,” which would empower Texas government to load the shotguns and being home the bacon, so to speak.

Be warned and be ready. If a wild hog stops you, looks confused, and asks for directions, send it to hog-free Rhode Island. That’s called “regional cooperation.”



Laurence D. Cohen is a freelance writer.

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