Fort Benning puts a bounty on boars

Pig Czar
This photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Army Maj. Bobby Toon posing in October 2007 with a feral pig he killed at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga.. AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Maj. Bobby Toon is known as the Pig Czar at the huge army post on Georgia's western edge.

He has been assigned to help rid Fort Benning of its unwanted guests: an estimated 6,000 feral pigs that roam the 184,000-acre installation.

The animals, common throughout Georgia, are known for tearing up woodlands and farms. They are aggressive foragers, gobbling up native vegetation and endangered species.

"These pigs feed and breed," Toon said. "That's all they care about. I've been here off and on for 17 years, and I can never remember a pig population as big as it is now."

Since July, more than 900 pigs have been killed.

"These animals can smell a turkey egg three miles away," Toon said. "They're also a danger to tortoises and woodpeckers."

The former 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment company commander, who now instructs a course at the Maneuver Captains Career Course, has personally brought down 68 pigs in the past year.

He's not the only pig hunter at work.

About 2,000 people who are authorized to hunt on the post have been encouraged to go after the feral pigs. They must be active-duty, retired military or civilian workers at Benning and must have a license from the base.

The post is offering a $40 bounty for every pig tail that's brought in.

"We did a cost estimate with civilian contractors, but they wanted way too much money for the job," Toon said.