THE GREAT ESCAPE: Some of the boars Reg Kerle has trapped on his property were so big they smashed the wire mesh apart and escaped.
THE GREAT ESCAPE: Some of the boars Reg Kerle has trapped on his property were so big they smashed the wire mesh apart and escaped. Emily Smith

He’s taken out 99 pigs in range war

REG Kerle is one pig short of reaching his century.

The Monto farmer has caught 99 pigs in 10 weeks in a place where they were once scarce.

Feral pigs are running rampant throughout the North Burnett and their feeding habits are ploughing up land and annihilating crops.

A sow can give birth at only six months old and have up to 20 offspring a year, so numbers can explode.

Using techniques devised by the military to stop pigs, pig hunters are using jelly crystals and caramel to lure the hogs into taking the bait.

Now farmers are fighting back.

About 3ha of Reg Kerle's lucerne paddocks look like they belong in a war zone.

"That's what a place looks like once the feral pigs get to it. It looks like bomb craters," the Abercorn farmer said.

In slightly more than two months Mr Kerle has trapped 99 pigs on his property, and on a single night caught 17 in one trap.

"We had more than that, but some of them are so big they just smash the traps right up. We got the shooters in for a bit too, so there was even more than that," he said. "Right now all I want is one more pig, so I can say we got 100!"

It was while mowing his millet paddock that Mr Kerle first noticed evidence of pigs on his land.

"I thought 'jolly gee, we have pigs'. You couldn't tell from the outside, but they had completely flattened the middle," he said.

"I've been here for about 20 years and only ever had one or two before this."

Off 2.4ha of lucerne, Mr Kerle had hoped to get at least 24 round bales, but only managed one-and-a-half once the pigs grazed it.

But pigs not only eat farmers' crops, but dig up the ground in a way that's expensive to fix, and can even destroy machinery.

"If you're mowing at 18kmh it can be devastating," Mr Kerle said.

"You'll come across a hole and all of a sudden you're airborne.

"I did my tractor's steering that way and it takes a long time to grade it all out (smooth) again."

Mr Kerle said conning pigs into traps with grain, molasses and even roadkill was a sure-fire way to get them.

"I wonder if people think I'm eating dead kangaroo for brekkie," Mr Kerle said.

"Because if I see a dead roo now I'll jump out and throw it in the ute.

"I'm feeding the pigs so well around here they are starting to look like lovely grainfed pink ones from the piggery!"


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