San Jose Sticks to Trapping Feral Pigs—At Least For Now

Trap-savvy feral hogs might have their run of San Jose’s lawns for just a bit longer.

Since the city started addressing its wild pig problem back in 2013, the couple-hundred-pound beasts have grown smart enough to avoid traps, prompting councilmen Johnny Khamis and Sergio Jimenez to craft a proposal that would allow licensed trappers to use archery to kill the pigs. But city officials had a few concerns, which held up the idea.

They said they worry about the vetting process for trappers, restrictions for areas where trappers would be deployed and what would happen if a trapper misses the pig and shoots someone else with a bow and arrow.

During Tuesday’s San Jose City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to allow city officials to work out some of the kinks before letting trappers resort to archery.

But not everyone was thrilled with the decision.

“I was shocked and dismayed when I saw this proposal,” resident Peter Didonato told the council. “I would simply ask each and every one of you to imagine what it feels like to be shot with an arrow. It is a cruel, torturous death.”

Khamis reminded residents that “this isn’t Wilbur the pig,” referring to the lovable hog in the children’s classic “Charlotte’s Web.” Feral pigs—unlike their domesticated counterparts—are aggressive and can’t be relocated.

“I don’t want to have people having visions of people running around the city shooting bows and arrows,” Khamis said. “This is not what we intended from this memo. We’re having some significant problems with property damages. These are feral pigs, they’re not indigenous and they last time we went around the Sierra Club actually supported this effort to depredation.”

San Jose Acting Assistant Police Chief Dave Tindall said the department prefers using traps over archery—especially as pigs start moving from more rural to residential areas.

“The public safety aspect of it with an arrow that misses its target, where does it go?” he said. “I know there’s a misconception out there that the arrows will only travel so far but many of them will travel just as far as a round from a rifle. ... So that is a consideration.”

Timothy Gall—a law enforcement professional with 20 years of experience, including 15 with the San Jose PD—is one of a handful of licensed trappers in the state. Over the years, Gall said he’s trapped and killed around 100 feral pigs in San Jose.

He told the council that in order to become a certified trapper, you have to pass a written exam. Then it’s up to the property owner to obtain a depredation permit from the state’s department of fish and wildlife before any trapping can begin.

“You always have to have safety as the primary concern,” Gall explained. “If a pig is doing damage, I understand that’s what the client is doing to remove the pig, but it’s not worth getting anyone hurt by taking a moderate shot. If I’m not 100 percent sure I’m going to be able to make the shot accurate and euthanize the animal as quick as possible.”

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

19 Comments

  1. Even though the Sierra Club supports this idea and the fact that the pigs are not native species and can be extremely dangerous – – there are always a few Professor Porks – “I was shocked and dismayed when I saw this proposal,” resident Peter Didonato told the council. “I would simply ask each and every one of you to imagine what it feels like to be shot with an arrow. It is a cruel, torturous death.”

    As we all know San Jose is being buried in trash and refuse giving rise to greatly increased numbers of rats – another non-indigenous species. Rodents cause damage and bring disease – but eradicating them will alarm some as well.

    besides death by arrow will cause less suffering/stress on the pigs and perhaps provide food for the needy. this is a good time of year to hunt as the pigs have been eating acorns and – – -lots of nice lawn.

  2. “The public safety aspect of it with an arrow that misses its target, where does it go?” he said. “I know there’s a misconception out there that the arrows will only travel so far but many of them will travel just as far as a round from a rifle. … So that is a consideration.”

    This is someone who has obviously never actually been around archery.

    More “ruling by the clueless” – suppose we should be used to it by now in California.

  3. “Black and scary” means that it’s forbidden, right? Irrespective of the facts around what it actually is and does, if it “looks tactical” then the clueless pee themselves in fear.

    160 FPS is nothing. Most longbows are about that. Standard hunting bows are 260-300 FPS at the high end.

    “But … but … but… it LOOKS scary!”

    Pathetic.

  4. It’s sad you think this is what real hunters use. This is a piece of junk and sold to ignorant people who just want something that looks cool. Please, take some time to educate yourself on the issue and on what REAL hunters use. That’s not “Bow and Arrow”, that’s “Crossbow and Bolt”.

  5. **Edit** This isn’t even “Crossbow and Bolt”! This is “Crossbow and Ball-bearing”! No one in their right mind who knows fact 1 about wild boars in CA would even dare consider this as a viable option. But I applaud you for engaging your ignorant perception of “big scary weapon” in an attempt to scare people with an image of what you perceive as “big scary weapon”, whereas those of us who do engage in the age-old tradition of hunting see this “big scary weapon” as a “pile of useless junk”. Again, please educate yourself with facts.

  6. I have shot a few hundred pigs under depredation permits in the San Ramon and Lafayette areas ,using a 400 fps crossbow with night vision .We hunt strictly from a ground blind or tree stand always having a safe backstop , so bolts hit ground .We bait the pigs in to a controlled spot , traps work but pigs are smart and some learn not to go in traps .You will not kill all the pigs , but hunting let’s them know there is a predator around and they we be a lot less likely to go into yards .My self and two buddies took out the 26 pigs in San Ramon that were destroying hundreds of yards back in 2013 ,in one month of hunting and trapping , we have taken over a hundred from San Ramon and around 150 from Lafayette .There have been no yards destroyed for years in Lafayette and only a few in San Ramon , keeping continuous hunting pressure on them works .Bait them into a safe shooting area and use a high energy crossbow that is accurate and you will keep them in check .We have had no issues with stray arrows on 15+ yrs of hunting them.

  7. People might change there minds when these pigs eat someone, it does happen ,pigs killed and ate a woman in Texas not to long ago

  8. Think of feral swine as you would a large, destructive rat.
    Hunt from elevation and the arrow goes to ground. Going as far as a bullet is ignorant talk. So what’s the alternative, let the swine take over? See last year’s news of the woman killed by one, Lousiana, I think. This problem gets worse, never better, unless you address it.

  9. Yes Rolland, I think the Killer Instinct 415 would be a far better choice, It doesn’t have the black flash hider or the scary black paint or 3 round magazine that would make it an assault bow!

  10. Wow. Officials are considering paying licensed trappers and hunters to eradicate the swine.

    How about you just run a special feral pig season that allows hunters to operate to take care of the problem at literally No Cost to the taxpayer. Shoot, even charge hunters a nominal fee to participate.

    Of course that won’t happen, it will solve the problem and cost next to nothing.

    This is Santa Clara County. We can’t have something that makes sense and saves the taxpayer money.

  11. Excellant point William. I agree 100%, native species or not, these animals belong to the citizens of the state and hunting them has been and still is a viable resolution.
    Folks have been bow hunting in this state for longer than this has been a state. I’ve not heard of one incident where a stray arrow from a hunter has injured anyone.
    There have been literally millions of arrows shot from bows.
    This is just more BS to pacify peta and other like minded soft heads.

  12. 1st off come on people with all the ways 2 look up something like bow & Arrow. The guy who looked it up i know thats not what you 1st seen now some place on the bottom of that website you can see what you posted witch is not a bow & Arrow a bow and Arrow is a very good way to put this pig problem behind us in fact hunting all the way around is a great way 2 do this. And save some kids that we loose to the gangs they have hunts for farther son or daughter. We should all look into this and see just how good it can be

  13. Problem is guys, the Demi Gods that run the city just aren’t going to let you hunt in town till they can’t get into city hall. Texas has open season on pigs, you can hunt them with a machine gun from a helicopter and they are still overrunning Texas hunters.

  14. I’ve met these feral pigs; they hang out by where I park. They’re scary and they’re big, but they’re creatures right and smart. If you have any empathy for dogs, why no emotions for the hogs? Smart and strong, they don’t live long, yet you’ll kill them for your banquets.

  15. Robert,

    That’s interesting. What happens to the meat? I wish you could cull some deer also–they are out of control and a road hazard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *