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Wild Pigs Causing Problems in West TN

By Joe Sullivan
By jsullivan@wbbjtv.com

Wild Pigs cause more than $1 billion worth of damage nationally every year.

"One of the big problems are that they cause for us is a disease pigs carry that other live stock get and humans get, " said Ben West with the UT Agriculture Extension in Jackson.

In West Tennessee, wild pigs are living in a number of counties. The largest population can be found in McNairy and Hardeman Counties.

"They are all in here back in toward Selmer, toward Henderson toward Chickasaw and back yonder Mount Zion all back in there," said James Cupples, who lives in McNairy County.

Experts said in 2006, wild pigs in California were responsible for the nationwide bagged spinach ecoli outbreak that killed three people and sickened more than 200.

"Pigs, the way they eat, they are rooters, so they dig the ground up with their nose so when you see an area where pigs have been in, it almost looks like an area that has been freshly plowed," said West.

Hunting wild pigs in Tennessee is illegal. Some people just can not avoid the animal.

"My wife hit it with a pick up truck and she tried to knock it in the head of course she hurt it real bad. I went up there and shot it twice with a .22 pistol," Cupples said.

The wild pig population continues to grow in McNairy County. Some people in Jackson may wonder why should the be concerned about the problem.

"I would say go to Texas. In Texas, they have about three million pigs in the state and they have enough pigs now that it's no longer a rural problem that it is in Tennessee. It's now an urban problem," West said.