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Roar of the Boar
Sightings become fairly common
Friday, January 06, 2006
By J. Michael Kelly
Staff writer
Central New York residents who see a Russian boar for the first time often don't know whether to run away, reach for a gun or rub their eyes in disbelief.
But when John Angyal spotted one of the big, hairy critters near his tree stand in the Cortland County town of Scott on Nov. 19, the first day of the Southern Zone deer season, he didn't hesitate.
Being a retired state trooper, Angyal knew boar are not protected by state game laws and can be hunted at any time of the year. And as a former restaurant owner Johnny Angel's in Skaneateles he realized he was looking at a heaping helping of free pork chops.
The beast he shot weighed 240 pounds, field-dressed. It was even heavier than the handsome 8-point buck with 22-inch-wide antlers he bagged in the same location a few minutes later.
"It was my best opening day in a long while," said Angyal.
Although the boarwas a bonus, it wasn't exactly a surprise. Sightings of boars have become fairly common in Cortland and southern Onondaga counties. Angyal, of Skaneateles, has pictures of several killed by his hunting buddies or local farmers.
"They're here to stay," he said. "They're reproducing and spreading out. One day last year I was fly-fishing in my pond in Scott and I saw a sow with eight little ones walk by. And I'm told they can have two or three litters a year."
Russian boars are the same species as domestic hogs, Sus scrofa, but have more hair, longer snouts and bigger teeth or tusks than their barnyard brethren. They are also reputed to have nasty tempers when cornered.
Angyal feels certain the wild ones he's seen are escapees or offspring of escapees from licensed hunting preserves or farms that raise boars for such operations. He cited the Cold Brook Hunts preserve, near his deer camp on Cold Brook Road, as a likely source.
But Jerry Contento of Homer, who owns Cold Brook Hunts, said the roaming boars are "absolutely not" his, although he offers hunts for that species as well as for elk, axis deer and other non-native game animals.

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