2013 – 2014 saw Queensland and parts of NSW gripped by the worst drought in recorded history. As of March 2014 as much as 79% of QLD was drought declared. In areas that only 12 months earlier were experiencing record floods now there was livestock and other wildlife starving to death and dying of thirst. All animals suffer under these conditions but there is one that seems to adapt no matter what Mother Nature throws at it……. the feral pig.
Two mates and I were to spend a few days on a property in Western Qld that had been devastated by the drought. This particular place is a little over 40,000 acres and in good times is a productive Droughtmaster stud. At the time of our visit the owners had all but destocked and were spending all waking hours pushing mulga so the few remaining cattle had something to pick. There have always been a few pigs on this place but the owners reckoned they hadn’t seen too many lately, “Only a few big old rangy boars gettin’ about” were the words to be exact, “You’d be lucky to see the buggers though”. “That’s how we like them” was the reply.
As the property is fed by a central bore and water drained via polly pipe to ground tanks with vast distances between them the plan was simple; hunt the water. Pigs can go for a remarkably long time without food but they can’t do it at all without water, especially when the midday mercury is pushing 40. Nearly every dam we came to either had dead cattle within a couple of hundred yards or cattle bogged and dying. No one likes the job but sometimes a bullet to the brain is the best way out for some of these poor buggers. On the plus side though it provided plenty of pig bait.