Are bow and arrow effective boar control?
Farmers and owners of agricultural properties are screaming for relief from the damage to their goods by increasing boar populations. A local Italian government agency is hoping bow and arrow could make a dent in the burgeoning boar populations.
Yet, wildlife experts, biologists, and other agencies are really without a clue how to control the increasing number of wild pigs. It is a worldwide phenomenon.
Italy is no exception. Nonetheless, the Italians believe to have discovered the magic bullet that cures all boar problems. To achieve their goal, they are coming back to an age-old technology: Bow and arrow.
Estimates put the number of wild boar in Italy at over 1 million. Hunting boar is popular in Italy. Nowadays, high-powered rifles are the preferred method of boar hunters. In the past, wild pigs were hunted with special spears, knives, swords, and primitive projectile weapons.
And strangely enough, boar populations stayed much smaller and more stable than in modern times. But does the hunting method actually make a difference in the population growth? If it did, boar numbers should have decreased steadily with the adoption of modern firearms for boar hunting.
Yet, this modern approach to boar hunting has not resulted in a reduction of boar populations in Italy. On the contrary, the animals are so numerous that they not only do severe damage to agriculture and the environment but also encroach on cities, and more often endanger traffic. For example, a sounder of boar crossing a busy road in Italy caused a pileup of ten cars killing one person.
Regional authorities in Lombardy have introduced a motion to allow boar hunting by bow and arrow to deal with the “wild boar emergency”. Authorities are also planning to allow boar hunting outside of the general hunting season in the rest of the country.
As in other parts of the world with increasing numbers of wild pigs, the animals are moving ever closer to human habitations attracted by the notoriously lax trash collection in Italian cities. Rome is a prime example of this development.
Mild winters, the abundance of commercially grown agricultural products, residents feeding the boar, and finally the ample trash left in overflowing trash bins on the street attract the boar. These are the primary reasons for the growing boar populations.
Government officials in Rome are, therefore, considering to hire sharpshooters to tranquilize boar with medicated darts for transport to their native countryside. Good luck with that. The boar will most likely head straight back to the cities and their everlasting food surplus.
It takes very little imagination and insight to understand that animal rights activists and consumer advocates are vehemently opposed to hunting with bow and arrow. They consider it a return to barbaric times.
Yes, wild pigs can be destructive and too many of them constitute an environmental catastrophe. But what is more barbaric, shooting a boar with bow and arrow to a quick death or penning sows in crates for life so small that they cannot even turn around?
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