European wild boar were originally introduced to America on hunting preserves in several parts of the country, ranging from Texas to California to New England. Most of the boar that populate the US are crossbreed of these imported European wild boar and “escaped” feral wild hogs.
Texas has the largest population of wild boar, estimated at over two million. Wild boar are prolific here in Texas and roam freely throughout the state. In fact, their habit of destroying fences and crops has contributed to their USDA classification as an invasive species. To harvest these wild boar we employ the services of several trappers who catch the boar in large trap boxes on area ranches and bring them live for slaughter under USDA inspection.
Larger, older wild boar may reach 400 pounds. These larger boars produce the hormone androstenone that accumulates in the fat and gives a strong odor to the meat. To prevent this we limit the harvest to 90 - 230 pound animals only. These produce the tenderest meat with a slight "nutty/bacon" flavor component that sets wild boar meat apart from your everyday domesticated pork.
Are They Really "Wild"?
Many years ago when we first began harvesting and selling wild boar meat we were asked by the USDA whether the animals we were harvesting were really wild and how could we prove it. Fair question. We gave a lengthy explanation of our harvesting process and how these animals come from area ranchers trying to rid them from their land, but we still felt we had not provided adequate "proof" of the animals’ wild nature. So we made the following proposition to the USDA: When we bring the wild boar in from the field, if an inspector is willing to enter a pen with the animals and remain in there for at least 30 seconds then we will not call it "wild" boar. Yes, our wild boar are truly wild - just ask the inspectors.
Wild Boar - An Interesting Animal
Wild boar have been used as a source of food on every continent except Antarctica. They are prolific animals wherever they range, coping with adversity of weather and population encroachment. Their widely varied diet allows them to subsist and thrive in conditions that would starve many species of animals.
Fossils preserve a record of wild swine far before the origin of mankind. Early ancestors of man in Europe left cave paintings and bones of wild boar.
Man has always been challenged by hunting large wild boar. Equipped with razor sharp tusks that self-sharpen on 3 sides and a nasty disposition, the wild boar will fight to the death when cornered.
They are capable of out-running most of the predators who might threaten them. Their intelligence and fighting skills make them a formidable quarry.
Wild boar have been known to kill other mammals such as deer and antelope. The bulk of their diet, however, consists of roots, nuts, berries, fallen fruit, mushrooms, and juicy herbs they encounter as they roam their territory. Because wild boar can subsist on a widely varying diet, the flavor of the meat can vary considerably from one animal to another.
Cuisines of almost every origin include traditional methods of preparing wild boar meat. With the availability of a truly wild meat slaughtered under full USDA inspection, it is not surprising that wild boar is becoming popular in restaurants offering a wide range of cuisines.