Some state lawmakers are trying to develop a law that will circumvent new wildlife rules that would outlaw wild boar on hunting and breeding ranches. Otherwise, beginning July 8th, a new wild board ban will take effect, declaring the boar an invasive species that endangers the environment.
Hunting ranchers say the ban would put some of them out of business. State Representative Ed McBroom is from the western Upper Peninsula, which is home to several hunting ranches. He says the rules fail to recognize there's little biological difference between hogs and boars.
"Pigs are pigs," he says. "Some pigs are ugly and black; and some pigs are pretty and pink."
McBroom says the state should wait to see how a recent swine control law works. It allows anyone to shoot a feral pig or boar in the wild.
"We're the only state in the country that's tried this so far," he says. "Let's let that legislation work. Let's let legislation that allows these few operators who are providing hunts that are bringing a great deal of tourist and economic growth into different areas of the state, let's let them have a chance to operate, too."
"Certainly, hunters and people who just happen upon a feral swine in the woods are not going to do enough to eradicate the problem," says Amy Trott of Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
"These animals in these facilities are a direct threat to our native wildlife and to our habitat, so it's about the concern we have for these animals getting out, the concern for diseases, for habitat damage," she says.
It is estimated there are anywhere from 1,000 to 7,000 wild swine roaming outside farms and hunting ranches.