What to do When Your Livelihood is Called an Invasive Species?
Jeff DeBacker of Michigan is not at all happy with the state calling his Russian boars an invasive species, and then mandating that they be removed by April 1st. DeBacker has never had any escaped wild hogs, he has spent a small fortune on the fences around his ranch. One to keep other animals out, but also to keep his animals in.
It is the escaped and wild hogs that have created the mess Michigan is trying to get rid of with this order. Wild hogs are destructive and can do a lot of damage, and this new ruling that calls for all wild hogs to be removed by April 1st, should not affect DeBacker's long term business that has been his livelihood for the past 10 years, but that is exactly what it is doing.
In addition to the boar, the preserve also has elk, whitetail deer, fallow deer, red stag deer, rams, and buffalo enclosed in three fenced-in areas on the 2,100-acre ranch.
DeBacker and his wife were farmers, that took all their money to invest it into Superior Game Ranch. He admits it was a risk, but they did it with hopes of the American Dream coming through. It did. The Ranch brings in 70% of their income, and they have 400 hunters annually. Most of the hunters are there to hunt the boars.
The DNR tried to use legislation to shut down businesses like Superior Game Ranch and when that failed they turned to the invasive species route. DeBacker doesn't consider his boars wild even, but livestock. He feeds, and waters them, they depend on him for their survival.
DeBacker has hired an attorney to halt the order to dispose of his boars by April 1. The rancher has also received support from farmers associations. State Rep. Ed McBroom personally visited the DeBacker game ranch last summer and supports his efforts to keep boar ranches legal. From The Daily Press.