Wild boars ravaging Alberta farms and wilderness have outwitted the province’s bid to thin their ranks through a paid hunting program that’s being cancelled.

A boar war that’s placed a $50 bounty on every ear turned in has yielded about 1,000 proof-of-kills since its start in 2008, says the province.

But the results have dwindled, from a high of 199 ears in 2009 to 68 in 2015, leading to its end on March 31, said Perry Abramenko of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

As has happened in other jurisdictions battling the hooved pests, the clever fugitive boars quickly get wise to hunters’ tactics, he added.

“If they only catch or kill one, the rest of the group will disperse and go elsewhere — they’re smart enough to know,” said Abramenko. “It hasn’t effectively reduced the population.”

Experience has shown that, given the boars’ rapid birth rate, anything less than a quick 70 per cent reduction of a group’s numbers won’t have the desired effect, he said.

Because they’re not a natural species in Alberta’s wilds, said Abramenko, “our predators didn’t evolve with them” to control their numbers.

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