Published November 22, 2009, 11:36 PM

South Dakota man shoots a feral pig, rare in the Midwest

A Lake County, S.D., man this month shot a feral pig, an animal usually found in the southern United States. Chad Aker said the animal was first sighted about six weeks ago by farmers chopping corn for silage. Aker found the pig on his property Nov. 2 about 14 miles northwest of Madison, S.D., and brought down the animal with a rifle.

By: Associated Press,

MADISON, S.D. — A Lake County man this month shot a feral pig, an animal usually found in the southern United States.

Chad Aker said the animal was first sighted about six weeks ago by farmers chopping corn for silage.

Aker found the pig on his property Nov. 2 about 14 miles northwest of Madison and brought down the animal with a rifle.

He had been doing yard work about sunset when his dogs started barking wildly from inside their fenced-in area near the house.

He first thought they were sounding off at a squirrel or two that live on the property.

“They kept barking, and that meant something had caught their attention,” Aker said. “I looked over at the kennel, and they were all looking in the same direction.”

Aker said the gray and black animal was probably close to 200 pounds, had grown 3-inch tusks and sported an unbobbed tail that was a couple of inches long.

Feral hogs are mostly viewed as a nuisance because their substantial appetites can damage wildlife habitats.

The wild animals also have the ability to reproduce well enough to have one or two offspring survive each year.

If their populations grow too large, they can crowd out native animal species and severely damage plant habitats.

Feral pigs are more common in the South. Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana, as well as California, have some of the five largest hunting areas in the nation.

Floyd Demaray of Ramona,S.D., who is Aker’s father-in-law, said others had seen the wild pig, including a farmer driving home from Sunday church services about a mile from Aker’s home.

Wild pigs have also been reported in Nebraska, but the origins of the Lake County animal are a mystery.

“Nobody really has any idea where it came from,” Aker said.

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