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Quinault Tribe, Washington

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There's been a population boom among feral pigs on the Olympic Peninsula and state wildlife managers are inviting hunters to help reduce the numbers. Quinault hunters have been shooting wild pigs for years, said Jack Smith, wildlife manager at the state Fish and Wildlife Department's regional office here. No one knows how many wild pigs live in the peninsula's woods, but sightings, mostly of animals crossing roads, are being reported from new areas, and at least 50 feral pigs have been killed so far this year by hunters. A few have weighed in at 200 pounds, but the average weight for a dressed-out animal is 75 pounds. 'The pigs on the Quinault look a lot like Russian wild boars,'' Smith said, covered with thick, coarse dark hair, with tusks on the adults. There have been no reports of damage to crops or rare plants, or along salmon-spawning streams, but there is potential for such problems. Pigs like to live near water and the deepest, softest soils, where they can root for tubers and other delicacies, and where many of Western Washington's rare plants are found, Smith said. No license is required to hunt non-native species, and hunting of the pigs is unregulated.