Wild boar press release

mudman

Well-Known Member
#1
I've just copied this BASC press release from another website:

"19 February 2008………………………………………………immediate release

The British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) has welcomed Defra's decision to allow landowners to decide the priorities for the management of wild boar populations.

Many of the points raised by BASC in its response to the Defra consultation are being addressed through the provision of best practice guidance rather than implementing new legislation.

The Wild Boar Action Plan will cover a wide range of topics such as impacts of wild boar and their management, minimum recommended firearms calibres, best practice and safe shooting and public awareness and how to react to boar in the wild.

Defra has requested that BASC is represented on the steering group that will develop the best practice guidelines with the aim of having them completed by September 2008.

Alan McCormick Head of Deer Management at BASC said: "BASC is pleased that Defra has recognised that the local strategy for dealing with wild boar must be decided by those who will be most affected by their presence, the landowners, farmers, and wildlife managers in the areas concerned. This action plan is a positive first step in developing a coherent long term strategy for the management of this once indigenous species"

ENDS

For more information please contact the BASC press office on 01244 573031"

No mention of close seasons, protection of suckling sows etc, anybody know of any more details?
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#2
I looks like DEFRA spend years and a shed load of money on research and consultation and then have done a complete cop out.

I'll try and find out more.
 

Beowulf

Well-Known Member
#3
A litte too late methinks! It's a good job we have dedicated and responsible members of the deer stalking/managing world to 'step up to the breach'!
 

buckup

Well-Known Member
#4
What! We don't have a wild boar problem in the U.K. do we? How long has it taken for these people to wake up? And when they do finaly remove their heads from their a....... they bravely, let someone else decide what to do. Any vacancies for a common sence individual with ears that hear and eyes that see? I think not, I don't have that all important degree!
Mark :rolleyes:
 

Boghossian

Well-Known Member
#6
Does anyone think it is better not to have a close season?

This allows certain landowners who WILL want the animals eradicated to do it through shooting, rather than resorting to poison etc which they almost certainly will....

Any views?
 
G

Grantoliver

Guest
#7
To be honest I think its a good thing. Bearing in mind what kind of country we now live in, I think we could have expected total eradication as the policy. This way, we need to ensure controlled expansion so that land owners are content and in three years when defra look at it again, they will have no need to change the policy. Its embarrassing to employ people to take three year to come up with this, but it could have been worse.
 

buckup

Well-Known Member
#8
In response to Grant Oliver,
I agree, although having spoken to European hunters, the general opinion is eradication was never an option. It would just have been another way of getting egg on ones face. The population abroad seems to be as unmanageable as deer are here. It is just a case of doing your best. Bearing in mind the number of piglets born each year with no natural predators, I think we have a superb new quarry species up and comming. Imagine if our deer produced in such numbers, there wouldn't be room to get in between them. In Poland for example the forestry PAY the farmers for the damage caused, they just can't shoot them quickly enough. I feel for the farmers who will undoubtedly suffer crop damage, maybe it will come that they sell the sporting rights for boar for more than the crop value anyway.
Watch this space I think it will be very interesting, but inevitable.
Mark
 
G

Grantoliver

Guest
#9
Hi Mark
My concern was the absolute numbers of animals. Defra are saying that:

The English feral boar population is estimated at no more than around 500 in the established populations, and fewer than 1000 in total. There are three established feral breeding populations of feral wild boar in England:

The largest, in Kent/Sussex was estimated in 2004 at approximately 200 animals in the core distribution area;
The second largest in the Forest of Dean/Ross on Wye area, where there may be in excess of 50 animals;
The smallest is in west Dorset, where there are still believed to be fewer than 50 animals.

If this is true I would have thought eradication was possible. As you say though with breeding rates as they are it might not be possible in three years. So overall this should is very positive, as long as we can keep landowners on side.

Grant
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#10
This is complete rubbish on the part of DEFRA! I can't speak for the other populations but as those on here who have had the pleasure of stalking in Herefordshire will know, the Forest of Dean population is way in excess of these estimates.

About the time that DEFRA thought there were 50 in the whole of the area which contained two distinct populations. I saw over 30 in one night whilst out with j.d.m., with many more unseen in the crops and also at the same time I saw a photograph of the other Forest population taken over 15 miles way as the crow flies in which there were 34 animals. So that puts about 70 boar in just 20 acres or so of the 30,000 acres of the Forest of Dean and outlying woods and none of these were in the main forest.

This was in 2006 and since then the boar have spread out through almost the entire Forest of Dean, down the Wye Valley and over the Wye and into Wales.

My guess would be that the population in the whole of the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley is now the largest in the UK and is certainly no less than 200 and may be as high as 500 which is almost twice what DEFRA think are in the whole of the Forest, Kent, Sussex and Dorset.

If they have made similarly inaccurate estimates in Kent/Sussex then who knows how many are currently at large.

DEFRA do not inspire me with confidence given that only a few years ago they were denying the existence of feral boar at all despite some being loose in Kent/Sussex since 1987.

Total eradication was never an option once we were up to four or five populations and once the animals were in a large forest like the Dean or a wild area like Exmoor. DEFRA have been experimenting with contraceptives in the Forest of Dean and this is the only possibility for any sort of eradication programme but there are huge difficulties with using any contraceptive to lace food with unless it is species specific which the current version is not.

I do feel sorry for landowners as boar will make a complete mess of a field or crops but as many have said we have a new sporting resource that will hopefully be with us for a long time.
 

buckup

Well-Known Member
#11
Boar poulation, estimate.
Let's assume DEFRA were spot on back in 2004, which I guess we all agree they weren't.
2004 total poulation 1000. Again worst case scenario we had a 50/50 male female split. 500x4 piglets (this allows for only a 50% survival rate despite having no real predator, and not particularly cold wet weather to kill them off).
2005 total surviving new borns 2000 + their original 1000 parents = 3000
2006 surviving new borns 6000 + parents (3000) = 9000.
2007 surviving new borns 18,000 + parents (9000) = 27,000
Boar given the right conditions live to eight years, so no losses there yet.
2008 new borns 54,000 + parents (27,000) = 81,000.

Where have I gone wrong? I'm an engineer, not a mathmatician, so please show me. If I'm 100% over, thats still a hell of a lot of Piggies.
I was warned this was going to happen here by a German. He has seen it happen around Berlin, it's like grains of rice on a chess board. At a production rate of eight piglets a year the poulation will increase, then explode. German youths like ours prefer T.V. and computer games to hunting, so our prospects of control are about as good as theirs.
Good news for hunters perhaps, but tragic for farming.
Mark
 

mudman

Well-Known Member
#12
I would guess that the impending population explosion of wildboar is being currently being held in check by a combination of shooting and RTA's.

A quick, very generalised, question for those who have more experince of the boar situation, how hard are these populations of boar currently hunted? And how disciminating are the hunters, I suppose what I mean to say is are they being treated as a sporting animal or are they shot on sight?
 
G

Grantoliver

Guest
#13
I dont know about the hunting but I do know a little about the animals. In my experience they suffer very lightly from infant mortality. The sows that I have had contact with, make great mothers, are very protective and would be unlikely to suffer much from fox attack. They adapt very quickly and therefore I would agree that if the populations are of the magnitude that we are talking about here, then the future is bright.
 

Boghossian

Well-Known Member
#14
I suppose there is a certain critical mass which will be reached, after which the population will expand very rapidly.

Considering how readily they roam, I wouldn't be surprised if they penetrate the rest of the country at a faster rate than muntjac. On the other hand, they will need larger areas to live in, not suburban gardens!

Despite all the drama, I think there are great opportunities here for the stalkers in the UK to give a new service and justify having larger calibers. At the moment, anything over 30 caliber is getting harder and harder to obtain 'just' for deer management. Perhaps the presence of some 130 keilers on your patch will convince the FEO otherwise!
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#15
There are others here far more qualified than me to answer the questions on management but the policy that j.d.m. operated was that no sow with dependant piglets (or the piglets of course) would be taken. He would not take a sow with piglets unless they were almost yearlings.

On his ground he didn't want to over shoot the pigs, hunted only under the full moon, so maybe four or five nights a month, and probably averaged less than a pig a night so allowing for poor moon conditions in some months he was maybe taking something in the range of 20 - 40 pigs a year. I'm sure that he will post and correct me if necessary.

When I was out with him we saw several litters that were quite a few months different in age so the boar have not settled into a clear breeding season yet and this is further affected by another factor that will affect some populations (not the Ross on Wye boar) and that is that there is some Tamworth or similar blood in some boar populations which produces bigger litters and more frequent farrowing so some of buckup's maths may need looking at.
 

paul k

Well-Known Member
#16
buckup said:
Boar poulation, estimate.
Let's assume DEFRA were spot on back in 2004, which I guess we all agree they weren't.
2004 total poulation 1000. Again worst case scenario we had a 50/50 male female split. 500x4 piglets (this allows for only a 50% survival rate despite having no real predator, and not particularly cold wet weather to kill them off).
2005 total surviving new borns 2000 + their original 1000 parents = 3000
2006 surviving new borns 6000 + parents (3000) = 9000.
2007 surviving new borns 18,000 + parents (9000) = 27,000
Boar given the right conditions live to eight years, so no losses there yet.
2008 new borns 54,000 + parents (27,000) = 81,000.

Where have I gone wrong? I'm an engineer, not a mathmatician, so please show me. If I'm 100% over, thats still a hell of a lot of Piggies.
I was warned this was going to happen here by a German. He has seen it happen around Berlin, it's like grains of rice on a chess board. At a production rate of eight piglets a year the poulation will increase, then explode. German youths like ours prefer T.V. and computer games to hunting, so our prospects of control are about as good as theirs.
Good news for hunters perhaps, but tragic for farming.
Mark
I think you are more or less right in theory with a couple of adjustments.

Firstly, not all sows will be fertile or of a breeding age so let's say that only 50% of females would breed. Litters seem to be at least 4, more often 5 or 6, so lets call it 4 and say that there would be 1,000 piglets born in 2005 with a 50% mortality for whatever reason.

That gives 500 (50%) additional pigs which sounds conservative given that deer populations expand by about 30% per annum with a single fawn or twins at most. The 250 additional sows would not be sexually mature for a year I'll still add this figure in because some of the sows that didn't breed in 2005 would mature and have piglets.

This would in turn add another 250 piglets after mortality so at the end of 2006 the population would be 2,250.

Taking this forward to the end of last year we get to 3,375 pigs of all ages and sexes. I doubt if more than about 20% of these are shot each year at the most.

In this scenario the population of pigs is going to grow substantially unless the cull is stepped up. Given that a 30% cull is what is usually needed to stabilise a deer population and taking into account the extra litter size I think that we would need to be culling pigs at the rate of at least 50% to stop population growth. In other words we would need to be shooting nearly 700 more pigs than DEFRA think are in the UK.

Interestingly some research commissioned by DEFRA casts doubt on the long term viability of the boar population in most areas and certainly does not predict continued growth but as I've said before, I really have no confidence in anything they say.
 

sikamalc

Administrator
Site Staff
#17
I agree with Grantoliver, I would have put money on DEFRA going for full eradication. But we were all aware that the population was and is much bigger then the idiots at DEFRA ever predicted. I had anumber of Emails backwards and forwards with the representative for the Dorset area. And up until last year he still insisted that the population in that area was only 50 animals :lol: :lol:

The population on the Kent/Sussex border has been studied by a friend of mine for the past 14 years. And on my last full visit with him to the surrounding area near Rye, he estimated that within a 5 mile radius there were in excess of 400 wild boar. There is also a further colony near Ashford, which has hybridised with some pigs on a run down farm. These should be irradicated to my mind, as I for one would like just pure Wild Boar :D

I am very happy that DEFRA have choosen this way forward, it is the only sensible solution, as there is no way they could hope to eradicate Wild Boar now. And I think it would be sensible to put a season on them, and treat the carcasses the same as Venison, in that it must be tagged by the stalker and logged by the game dealer. It would give us a better idea of their numbers and their distribution and their growth in numbers over the next few years.

Treated correctly and ethically, Wild Boar to my mind are and will be a valuable Sporting asset, and for me a welcome addition back to the English countryside. I for one am happy to see them back :)

I personally have not shot one yet !! although I have an outstanding invite to do so. Recent bout of flu stopped me going :cry: and having hunted and taken Pigs in Africa, I very much look forward to catching up with a Wild Boar later in the year. ;)
 
G

Grantoliver

Guest
#19
Great photo apollo. Is that fence doing anything, ie fencing in or fencing out.

I have been involved with two wild boar litters. One numbered 9 and the other 8. They grow more slowly than domestic pigs and have a very different texture and flavour. I think this is a tremendous addition to to rich diversity of wildlife in this country and one which those of us on this site will find very exciting indeed. I am very glad I have just had an 8x57 put on my ticket.


Grant
 

apollo

Well-Known Member
#20
the fence just behind the camera is flat on the floor, dont hold them in or out, there are a few stripys in this pic....



And thier dad.....



And one outside the fence.....

 

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