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Saturday, 9 July 2016

Wild Boar in New Zealand

I recently saw this picture of a Chatham Islands pig on US site 'All Outdoors'. The only information they had was that the pig weighed 292 pounds (132.5 kilos) when photographed back in 2013.

I haven't found any extra information about that particular pig - but I'm thinking it will have fed a few hungry mouths eh.

Wild Boar can weigh up to 200 kilo - 440 lbs. and they are wide spread throughout in the NZ bush and farmland where they are often hunted on foot with dogs.

Wild Boar in New Zealand are generally known as "Captain Cookers" because live pigs are recorded as being given to Maori tribes by Captain Cook on his explorations here as far back as 1770 (although a French ships Captain is recorded as first gifting pigs a year earlier - so they should be called "Captain Jean Francois Marie de Suvilles".

Sus Scrofa is so successful at finding plenty of food here - destroying crops and killing new born lambs - that by the 1930s a Government bounty was being offered of three rounds of ammunition or a shilling for every pig snout with its tail.

In 1947 it was recorded that there were estimated to be 123 wild pigs per every square kilometre.

New Zealand pig hunting is "hard work" hunting on foot through steep bush country with tough pig dogs specially bred and trained to the work .. as are too both the men and women hunters.
Those tusks mean that a Captain Cooker can fight back and cause plenty of damage:

I have shot wild pigs a fair bit in outback Australia - but the way we did it was covering outback property fence-lines and billabongs in comfort from a Toyota 4WD (using GPS and air-con.) from tracks in wide open country - with only a little foot chasing if a mob went into the bush. - I've also heard of Aussie hunting parties shooting from the air while using helicopters to chase the pig mobs.

 That kiwi-style on foot with dogs and maybe a knife to stick the bailed porker is way too tough for me.

Marty K.

P.S: 'Kunekune' pigs are also found here in New Zealand and are believed to have been brought here by American whalers as 'Polish-Chinese' pigs. - Kune means "fat and round" in Maori and these pigs are wattled - I read that the only other pig breed having wattles is the Polish breed.