Although not a Boar hunter, I was interested in the piece on the risk to the UK pig industry …. the pig producers came across well and emphasised the risk of rapid spread of Swine fever in the Feral population and the importance of keeping the wild/feral population under control. I'm afraid I had to turn over when they wheeled out the "let's save the the willd piggies person" who started spouting off about how cuddly and wonderful they are and all part of the beautiful countryside! Obviously didn't rely on rearing animals for a living and didn't quite understand the risks to our farming industry as a whole. The thought of a repeat of a Foot and Mouth outbreak or an as yet unseen Swine Flu epidemic doesn't bear thinking about.
Not a regular boar shooter, but two years ago (March 2017) Erik Hamburger and I attended a meeting that David Slater the photographer and "Friend of the Boar" called to get together with stalkers. Erik may have a better memory of the meeting and the information exchanged.
I am surprised at the comments on SD regarding David Slater's input on country file. He was not anti boar management/control or culling. His beef was that the FC policy is going against the science of wild animal management...that they are culling too many in the wrong area in order to justify their new larder facility, which has caused the boar to multiply and spread.
He was exploring the possibility of an accurate survey of actual numbers of animals. And the reason he contacted Erik and the North Cotswold Deer Management Group was the idea of setting up a ring of stalkers/boar shooters in the farms surrounding a designated boar forest area so that the less disturbed boar in that area would self regulate numbers based on food available.
I don't know about the science he was quoting, that hard hunting stimulates reproduction and population growth, but David Slater did not appear to me to be a "let's save the wild piggies person [because they are] cuddly and wonderful".
Economically he seemed to think that there was a better deal for locals from the tourist trade coming to see the boar and revenue for the farmers and land owners surrounding the forest from the likes of boar shooters.
Good response there Alan and welcome information on another facet of the FoD boar situation. There does seem to be a lack of joined up management planning in the area, and given the diversity of views on what to do with boar and their potential for rapid population growth, it needs to get sorted sooner rather than later. (Or too late!).
Further to this there was a small piece on Points West last week. The FC census in Forest of Dean shows an increase of 400 boar, bringing their estimate to 1600. Also a short interview with a very concerned local pig farmer. As you say Orion 'Or too late'
the thing is, if you want to do something about ASF then do what you can to keep it outside of the UK.
Either avoid hunting in infected areas, or pay extra special attention to cleaning, clothes, boots, gear on the way back. Dont import trophies that might be carriers of the disease and if you do make sure its absolutely sterile.. things like that..
decimating wild boar populations in a country that is no where near the infected area (southern belgium, eastern europe) and saying its to stop ASF is stupid. ASF will not spontaneously come into existence on its own. its fear mongering plain and simple.
and in regards to boar being good for forests and a beautiful part of the countryside.. well, they are... and delicious as a bonus..