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Feral pig hunters partner with businesses to manage boar problem

By Diane Ako

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    Hawaii (KITV) — A group of local hunters has partnered with farmers and businesses to help manage their feral pig problem. The state designates wild boars an invasive species because they rip up the ground and destroy plant life.

What starts with a high-tech hunt, ends with a tasty dinner.

Kevin Mulkern at Mulkern Landscaping recalls how the pig problem affected his Kahaluu nursery earlier this year. “We had what I thought was a couple of friendly pigs, not that big an issue. They ate one lotus plant. I blinked and the next day I lost 60 plants.” The feral boars ate about $6,000 worth of plants in one evening.

He complained about it to his buddy Dean Sensui, a hunter, who said he’d help out.

Sensui built a trap. He admits this is not called hunting; this is a practical answer to a problem. But he and his friends will actually hunt boar at other properties when necessary. “They have a voracious appetite and a bad habit of rooting up plants, lawns, gardens, farms. Quite a bit of damage done,” he says of the pigs.

Sensui captured 25 pigs from Mulkern’s property. “Thankful would be an understatement,” Mulkern sighs.

It’s a win-win as the hunters eat the meat. In fact, I joined the group and learned how to dress a wild boar.

“For every pound of meat you harvest from the wild, that’s another animal you didn’t have to raise. It takes five pounds of feed to create one pound of meat,” Sensui says, making it a sustainable solution he hopes will pick up in popularity.

The need certainly won’t go away any time soon. As we spoke, Mulkern says he spotted a pregnant sow that they’re now working on catching. This time, at least he knows who to call.

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