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Hi Vic and Sean,
good to hear you are getting involved – the more the merrier and better for these endearing little critters. We have been supporting a local rescue expert and helping release for a number of years now. It certainly feels like a responsibility doesn’t it, but incredibly exciting and fulfilling.
we also struggled (and still do) with the task of seeing them made better and overwintering and then having to let them go into the big bad World out there – never really knowing what fate awaits them. It sounds as though your environment is a good one though and gives them a good opportunity. having other wild hogs around is a good indication and whilst they might get biffed around a bit, are pretty determined and robust creatures who will easily survive this and probably learn life skills from it.
we have learnt some techniques over the years that seem to work better than others for releasing- and one thing I would say is that released hogs will rarely (we’ve never known it) go back to a house that they have been released from if it stays inside the enclosure you’ve had them in as well – they are more likely to use a house that has been moved away from the enclosure but still in the vicinity (I guess the reason for this is fairly obvious when you think about it). So, our technique is to familiarise hog in surroundings in house in enclosure for a couple of nights (during which time they will pace up and down and dig and climb to the point of madness)- and then the next evening, move the hog whilst in their house at early dusk to a predetermined site so they come out to freedom (the move will sometimes wake them – so study their wake up habits to try and time it right). they do more often return on this basis and or stay around for food and water etc.
judging by the sound of your environment, I don’t think you have any concerns over releasing 5-8 hogs in one season.
some return and some don’t – some wait weeks and disappear and others reappear after many weeks. Its all part of their interesting habits and charm.
I assume you have had some advise on feeding and water etc from the centre.
I’m guessing you’ll be addicted for years to come!