OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. – They are big, ugly and mean.
Russ Mason, chief of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' wildlife division, calls them, "Asian carp with legs." Starting Sunday, the wild boar is banned in Michigan.
"The has determined that ... the wild boar, Russian boar, is an invasive species and represent extreme danger to the state of Michigan," said Dennis Fijalkowski, of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy.
Wild boars are now reported in 65 of Michigan's 83 counties, and while sightings in southeast Michigan are rare, they have been spotted in Macomb, Oakland, Livingston, and Washtenaw.
"My daughter said, 'Look mommy,' and there was 100-pound plus wild hog trotting across the gravel lot," said Linda Smith, of Oakland County.
According to the DNR, the wild hogs, many of which have escaped from game ranches, carry disease, destroy crops, threaten animals and people, and by all accounts provide no benefit other than sport hunting. But that hunting is big business for the owners of approximately sixty five game ranches across the state.
"We should think of these things not as game animals but as 300-pound cockroaches," said Pat Rusz, of the Michigan Wildlife conservancy.
However, game ranchers such as former rocker Ted Nugent will fight the ban which they say will cost them money.
"Their attempts at over-regulating with further blockade sportsman from around this country who want to come to Michigan," Nugent said.
A person with any type of hunting license may legally shoot and kill a wild boar in Michigan any day of the year. The state is even considering establishing a bounty on wild pigs.
The legal fight may eventually reach the Michigan Supreme Court, but for now, the wild boar is banned in Michigan.