Feral Hogs Herd of javelina absolutely massacre top-25 Arizona golf course
By Coleman Bentley
October 23, 2023
It seems like practically every day we get news of some hotshot destroying a golf course with their pickup truck. This year alone we saw an entire dirt bike crew tear through a Delaware course in broad daylight and a Champions Tour venue vandalized 36 hours before the tournament was scheduled to begin. It’s getting worse and worse out there—boredom is rampant, crime is a viral trend now, yadda yadda yadda—but the man-made destruction can’t hold a candle to what’s been happening at this top Arizona golf course. If you’re sensitive to graphic golf gore, now’s the time to look away.
That was the scene at Seven Canyons Golf Club in Sedona as captured by superintendent Em Casey on Sunday morning. But it wasn’t humans or weather or some sort of extraterrestrial blight that caused this—it was a pack of adorable boar-like animals called javelinas.
Javelinas: Cute but Stubborn
Don’t let their cuddly appearance fool you, however. Javelinas are stubborn and stout. They defend their territory aggressively and sometimes fight each other to the death over a prickly pear, their favorite snack. They travel in herds of five to 15, though some as large as 50 have been reported. When moving in numbers, even cougars—one of Earth’s apex predators—are afraid of them. So what chance does a greenskeeper stand?
That’s a good question, and one Casey is desperately looking to answer. As you can see from the video, the damage to Seven Canyons—ranked the 24th best golf course in Arizona by Golf Digest in 2023—is extensive, bordering on catastrophic. But you can’t just hire an exterminator. Javelinas are classified as a “big game species” under Arizona law, making it unlawful to trap, injure, or kill them—even in situations where they may be causing danger or damage—without meeting a “rigorous” set of provisions.
The Moral Dilemma
The case of the feral hogs invasion at Seven Canyons raises an interesting moral dilemma. On the one hand, we have a beautiful golf course, loved by its members and visitors. On the other hand, we have a species of animals, native to the area, simply trying to survive and feed themselves. While the destruction caused by the javelinas is undeniably disruptive and costly, we must ask ourselves if it is right to prioritize the well-being and enjoyment of humans over the natural habitat and behavior of these creatures.
This situation opens up a philosophical discussion on the relationship between humans and wildlife. Is it our duty to protect and preserve the habitat of these animals, allowing them to continue their lives undisturbed? Or should we prioritize human activities and the maintenance of the golf course, even if it means intervening and potentially harming the animals?
A Balancing Act
It is important to recognize that finding a solution to this conflict requires striking a balance between human activities and the preservation of wildlife. While we can empathize with the frustration and financial burden experienced by the Seven Canyons Golf Club, it is crucial to consider alternative approaches that do not involve harming the javelinas.
One possible solution could be the implementation of deterrent measures to discourage the animals from causing further damage to the golf course. This could involve using non-lethal methods such as installing fences, employing noise-making devices, or introducing natural predators to the area. By creating an environment that is less attractive to the javelinas, it is possible to reduce the potential for future encounters and minimize the risk of destruction.
Lessons from Nature
The situation at Seven Canyons serves as a reminder that humans are not the only inhabitants of this planet. Our desires and interests must coexist with the natural world, and it is our responsibility to find ways to mitigate conflicts that arise. By seeking creative and compassionate solutions, we can navigate situations like these with a greater respect for the interconnectedness of all living beings.
Ultimately, the fate of Seven Canyons Golf Club and the javelinas rests in the hands of those responsible for managing the course. It is our hope that they approach this dilemma with a commitment to environmental stewardship and a willingness to explore innovative and humane strategies. Only by doing so can we ensure a harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife.
<< photo by Raphael Loquellano >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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