by Michael Lowrey
• Pigs, of the non-cute, very large, feral sort, per the Asheville Citizen-Times:
When a 707-pound wild hog with razor sharp tusks is hurtling at you at full speed, it’s, well, a tad unsettling. “I thought I done filled one of my boots up,” Bruce Florence said with a hearty laugh. “It scared the fool out of me.”
Happily on that January morning, Florence kept his cool. The snorting brown beast veered off from him about 20 yards out, allowing him to land a clean broadside kill shot with a single round from a .25-06 rifle. That was fortunate, as it was the only round in the rifle, although he did have a sidearm, too.
The Jan. 16 deep encounter in the Transylvania woods near the Jackson County border highlights a decades-old problem in the mountains, and much of the United States. Feral swine have exploded in numbers.
Feral pigs have two sources in North Carolina: domestic pigs that escaped and turned feral over time and , well, this:
In the early 1900s, hunting enthusiasts brought in Eurasian wild boars, establishing game preserves for well-heeled hunters. Naturally, some of those animals busted loose, too, including the well-documented escape on Hooper Bald along the North Carolina-Tennessee line, which led to a hardy population in the future national park.
In the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, many states began stocking wild hogs for game hunting, even promoting the animals as “wild boars” to lure hunters.
What could possibly go wrong? Oh wait, you mean that pigs breed like crazy? You can read the rest of the story here.
• Sweat potato weevils, per the Wilmington Star-News:
A mystery’s going on along the Cape Fear coast, and it involves a tiny insect that has a hankering for sweet potatoes.
Researchers with the N.C. Department of Agriculture want to know why the sweet potato weevil, a pest that could quickly devastate one of North Carolina’s most important cash crops, isn’t moving inland.
The question might seem strange, especially since the weevil has showed little impetus to move toward the vast sweet potato fields of the state’s coastal plain when it was first discovered near Carolina Beach in the early 1980s.
But for scientists and farmers, being lucky isn’t enough.