Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
[Wild pigs] are considered an exotic, non-native species. And they eat indiscriminately, tearing up the landscape and crowding out native animals.
The thrill and satisfaction of stalking wild pigs draws many hunters to the rural hills of Sonoma County, Berkeley author and food activist Michael Pollan among them.
A reluctant hunter at best, he has described taking down a pig in the woods outside Healdsburg as a moment of tremendous elation and pride, like somehow becoming part of a “most improbable drama in which I had somehow found myself playing the hero’s part.”
Wild pigs are among the region’s most abundant game animals and perhaps the most delectable, as well. Their meat is rich and flavorful beyond what anyone accustomed to domestic pork might imagine.
But they also are ferocious, tough and wily, highly adaptive creatures whose impressive ability to elude two-legged carnivores makes them challenging prey in the woods of the North Coast.
The coarse-haired creatures respond quickly to hunting pressure, shifting territory or becoming active only at night when they sense the presence of humans for any length of time, experts say. Plentiful, open private lands provide refuge, as well.
“Most of the time you’re lucky if you even see pigs,” said Harry Morse, a California Fish and Wildlife communications officer and off-duty hunter.