Wild boar are an increasingly pervasive problem throughout North America, and many other parts of the world.
These hybrids of European wild pigs and escaped domestic pigs cause billions of dollars in agricultural and property damage every year, out compete other wildlife species and disrupt ecologies that cannot cope with their massive reproductive rates.
These critters are definitely pests, but are wild boar dangerous?
Yes, wild boar can be quite dangerous. Males and females alike are aggressive and unpredictable, and males have large canine teeth that function as tusks. Injuries from close encounters are common.
Hunting these destructive beasties has turned into a popular pastime for some, and a lucrative business for others in the form of bounties.
In either case, or if you are just in an area where wild boar are common, you’ll need to know about their behavior and how to deal with them if you want to avoid a dangerous run-in. You can learn more about them here.
Understanding Wild Boar Behavior
Wild boar are generally concerned with only a few things. Prime among these concerns are eating and mating.
If they aren’t doing either of those, they are probably looking for something to eat or else are sleeping.
Most of the challenges associated with wild boar come from their reproductive rate, sheer numbers and the fact that they can eat almost anything.
Wild boar will carve up the landscape in search of vegetables, tubers, nuts, roots, berries, bugs and small animals, even eggs. It will also eat the bark right off of trees if better food is not available.
Wild boar are found all over the nation at this point, but are especially prevalent in the South and Southwestern parts of the United States.
Florida and Texas are particularly known for large and expanding populations of wild boar, and both states have among the highest rates of violent encounters with humans.
Wild boar typically inhabit densely forested areas or overgrown plains and pasturage that has dependable water sources nearby.
Hot and humid areas are preferred to cold and dry ones. Boar will also inhabit areas where they have plenty of cover and concealment for nesting and resting.
Are Wild Boar Aggressive Toward Humans?
Yes. Although much of the time they seem shy and will retreat from people, they are just as likely to go from seemingly unconcerned to completely mental at the drop of a hat.
Have Wild Boar Ever Attacked Humans?
Yes. There have been many recorded attacks on people both in rural and in suburban areas throughout the United States, and many such attacks seem completely unprovoked.
They might look a little goofy from a safe distance, but these are definitely dangerous animals, particularly larger males during mating season or mature females with piglets.
In some instances, groups or sounders of boar have attacked individuals or small groups of people.
How Do Wild Boar Attack?
Wild boar attack by charging and bodily slamming into threats before biting and goring with their tusks.
Puncture wounds and lacerations are the typical injuries inflicted from such an attack, and fatalities have occurred.
The cause of death is usually exsanguination, blood loss, rather than critical injury to organs or other bodily structures.
What Causes Wild Boar Aggression?
Wild boar typically show aggression to people when people get too close to them, surprise them at close range, startle a sleeping or resting boar, or come upon a mother with piglets.
However, there is a shocking number of seemingly rogue attacks perpetrated by massive, lone male pigs.
In most cases, wild boar appear and close in suddenly rather than taking notice of people at a distance, approaching, and then attacking.
Due to the typical environments that bore like to inhabit, sight lines are often quite short, and boar may become aware of people before people can even see them through dense undergrowth or brush.
Do Wild Boar Eat People?
Yes. Although wild boar are not expected to attack people as a source of food, but rather out of fear or a sense of self-defense, they are carnivores and if they manage to finish off a person or come upon a dead body it is highly likely that they will eat it.
Are Wild Boar Territorial?
Yes. Although wild boar will typically retreat from people, this is not always the case, and people who are coming too far into the personal space of a wild boar, or close to nesting areas, will likely be confronted. In this case, confronted means attacked.
Most wild boar do not engage in any sort of standoffish behavior or threat display, instead they either attack or retreat.
How Strong is a Wild Boar?
Quite strong. Wild boar can weigh anywhere from several dozen pounds to nearly 400 pounds in the case of large males, with a few truly massive specimens tipping the scales at more than 500 pounds.
They’re surprisingly fast, too, and capable of reaching more than 25 miles per hour when sprinting flat out on suitable terrain. They can corner quickly and turn on a dime and close quarters.
Their strength, stamina and overall toughness make them formidable opponents, and a charge from a wild boar combined with the mad thrashing of its tusks can inflict hideous injuries.
What Should You Do if You See a Wild Boar?
The very best thing you can do if you see a wild boar is to keep your distance. Admire them from a safe distance if you must, but you’ll be doing everyone a favor if you can take them out from a safe distance with a firearm.
Under no circumstances should you approach a wild boar, even ones that seem to be resting or eating peacefully.
There have been too many reported instances of these pigs being triggered by seemingly nothing at all and attacking in the blink of an eye when people get too close.
What Should You Do if Attacked by a Wild Boar?
Your best bet if you’re attacked by wild boar is to get to higher ground, and in this case higher ground could be something like a boulder, dumpster, automobile or something similar.
These nasty porkers can jump, but not particularly high, and they are not good climbers.
If you are unable to gain higher ground or simply do not have time, try to step out of the way at the last moment to evade a charge and then counterattack.
Whatever you do, do your very best to keep your feet under you. Most boar attacks go very badly for the victim after they fall down because the board will be able to reach your torso, head and neck.
In this case, fight back and fight back hard. Use weapons if you have them and can access them, and if you are able try to trip the boar and roll it over in order to better control it prior to dispatching it.
Expect a nasty fight, as these critters are quite tough.
Do Wild Boar Carry Diseases People Can Catch?
Yes, and wild boar are particularly notable for the wide variety of terrible diseases that they carry, diseases that can spread to human beings through close contact or through incidental contact after being contracted by other animals that come into range of a place that has been badly contaminated by hogs.
From viruses and bacteria to parasites, wild boar carry it all, with foot and mouth disease, hepatitis, tuberculosis, trichinella and toxoplasma gondi being just a few of the hideous bugs that these invasive, destructive beasts contained within their flesh.
you want to make it a point to thoroughly decontaminate yourself and your gear after coming into direct contact with a wild boar, and if you are harvesting them for meat take appropriate precautions to prevent infection by bloodborne pathogens.
Make sure that all meat is thoroughly cooked to well done in order to prevent foodborne illness.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.