Hunting wild animals is a sport that is viewed very negatively by many people, on the grounds that it is cruel. In the case of hunting animals purely for the thrill of it like coyote hunting, this is a valid objection.
However, it is often the case that hunting serves a good purpose. For example, the hunter may use the animal for food. For vegetarians this may still not justify the suffering the animal experiences, but non-vegetarians must remember that animals were slaughtered to provide the meat they buy in the supermarket, and often those animals lived their whole lives in cages under terribly inhumane conditions, while the hunted animal lives a free life in the wild.
In addition, some animals do a lot of harm to the environment if they become too numerous, so that hunting them serves an environmental purpose. Wild pig hunting in Hawaii is an example of the most moral kind of hunting, in which the environment is protected and the hunters get healthy sustenance from the meat.
Hawaiian wild pigs or boars arrived in the islands around 2000 years ago, brought by the first Polynesians who migrated here. They can weigh over 200 pounds and are black with long hair on their backs. They do a huge amount of damage to the environment with the way they root around on the ground, especially since many of Hawaii’s native plants evolved in an environment free of rooting animals.
The pigs are nocturnal by nature and thus feral pig hunting is usually done in the late evening or early morning. These are among the most exciting animals to hunt, as well as the most dangerous.
On a Hawaiian pig hunt, wild boar hunting dogs are normally used to track and corner the pigs. Hunters must have a permit of course, and there are restrictions as to where and when to hunt, but because Hawaii’s feral pigs do so much damage, there are many opportunities to hunt.
The hunters usually drive to a trailhead in a pickup truck with several dogs riding in the back, and then begin hiking with the dogs. When the dogs catch a scent, they rush off in pursuit. On a Hawaiian hunt, the dogs are typically “catch” dogs rather than “bay” dogs, which means that they take hold of the pig by the base of the ear and hold it down until the hunters come, rather than just cornering and harassing the boar and barking loudly.
Catch dogs are typically pit bulls or bulldogs. Because they physically hold down the pig, the hunters are able to kill it with a hunting knife rather than a rifle. Sometimes bay dogs are also used to first corner the pig, with the catch dogs then bringing it down.
There is some controversy about pig hunting with dogs. It is certainly very dangerous for the dogs, with many being killed by the boars. In addition, when the dogs bring down a pig, the pig usually suffers more than if it is shot dead with a rifle. Hunting dogs have also killed other, tame domesticated dogs that were hiking with their owners.