VIENNA TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Wild boars are considered a dangerous nuisance and a major threat to agriculture in states like Texas and Florida. That's why residents in Trumbull County are sounding the alarm about a group of boars that are running loose.
When investors turned a golf course in Trumbull County into a wild game hunting preserve, known as Candywood Whitetail Ranch, many residents of Vienna Township opposed the plan.
“You take a small area of property, you throw a whole bunch of wild animals in there and then guys pay money to come drive around in golf carts and shoot them. It's not very sportsmanlike,” said longtime resident Roy Pratt.
Ultimately, the wild game ranch failed and the operators agreed to remove or eliminate any animals they had imported and take down the fences around the preserve.
But neighbors of the ranch were alarmed to learn that a group of wild boars avoided the purge and now have free run around the surrounding countryside.
“It only takes one or two sets of them to escape and they`ll reproduce. And, since they`re not indigenous to this area, there`s no natural predators,” said Pratt.
Sam Guarino, who lives across the street from Pratt, shot and killed a boar that wandered into Pratt’s back yard on Tuesday night, and he said it was perfectly legal.
Guarino told FOX 8, “The state and the county officials and the trustees are glad somebody shot one and brought their attention that they're here.”
Residents are critical of the former operators of the ranch for not keeping track of exactly how many boars were on the property and for not removing them or eliminating them as a threat before taking down the fences.
Wild boars, also known as feral pigs, are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are considered a wildlife nuisance in many southern states. The U.S. spends $1.5 billion a year to keep boars from spreading and to clean up the damage they do to crops.
Trumbull County residents are hoping the “Candywood” boars can be eliminated before they become a real threat.
“If you would get between the female sow and her piglets, or come across one of these males which are 300 pounds and up, they're very dangerous and so I would not want any small children or even adults coming across their path,” said Roy Pratt.
Authorities now plan to set up traps to try and catch the remaining wild hogs.