The Boar’s Head, North Carolina Wildlife

If you’ve ever attended a Madrigal Dinner, no doubt you heard the traditional “Boar’s Head Carol.”  In Medieval times a boar was sacrificed and roasted on a spit.  The head was placed on a silver platter to be paraded at the Yuletide Feast while carolers sang the following:

“The Boar’s Head in hand bring I Bedeck’d with bays and rosemary And I pray you my masters, be merry Quot estis in convivio (as many there are in the feast).”

Descendants of that 16th century wild boar have found their way to about 40 states, among them North Carolina.  We aren’t singing their praises anymore, for they have become a nuisance, plowing through farmer’s fields destroying crops.  Even worse, equipped with razor-sharp tusks and a nasty disposition, they could play havoc with any man or beast they happen upon. 

Just ask Bruce Florence, a hunter who came nose to tusk with a galloping 701-pound boar in the woods of Jackson/Transylvania Counties.  

He chuckled and said, “I thought I done filled one of my boots up.  It scared the fool out of me.”  Luckily the boar veered away from him in the last few yards of his charge, giving Florence a clean shot.

North Carolina’s wild boar population was introduced in the early 1900s when European boar were released in Graham County for hunting sport.  Some escaped and bred with domestic hogs.  Feral swine and domestic pigs are the same species.

The feral swine problem is now so widespread hunting them is open season.  The Wildlife Commission states, “As the range and destructive nature of feral swine has expanded, management efforts have changed from managing a game species to attempting to contain and control the spread of a destructive species across
 the landscape.”

Of all the animals in North Carolina, few have such a deplorable reputation.  We’re reminded of an age-old lesson: Don’t introduce non-native plants and animals into our environment. We can’t save its bacon and it may thrash ours.

If you’re having problems with destructive feral swine, call USDA Wildlife Services. They will trap and remove them for free.

For more info about North Carolina wildlife, visit ncwildlife.org.