Pig hunters are not just satisfying their urge to catch wild game in the outback, they are playing a vital role in containing the rapidly expanding population of feral pigs.

Story by Martin Auldist and Photos by Martin Auldist and Alistair McGlashan

In pig hunters’ dreams the quintessential trophy boar is a big, black, mud-encrusted razorback with needle-sharp tusks protruding more than three inches from the bottom jaw. Mounted heads of such specimens adorn the walls of just about any pub in pig country and attest to the place of the wild pig in the folklore of the outback.
While hunters dream about feral pigs, however, landowners despise them. Causing agricultural damage costing at least $107 million per year, pigs rank second only to the rabbit on the list of most destructive feral pests. Much of this cost relates to crop damage and lamb predation, but pigs also dig up ground, wreck fences, muddy water holes and spread disease. Plus there is the hidden cost of the damage they cause to the environment. Yet, despite all this, feral pigs have become an ingrained part of the wildlife of the outback. In many ways, inland Australia just wouldn’t be the same without them.

This story excerpt is from Issue #44

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2006