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  • Ellie Skromme

The Origin of Wild Boar in Monterey County

Updated: Nov 28, 2023


"Rancho San Carlos was a getaway for elites who came to enjoy the luxury of [George Gordan Moore's] rural rancho" -Santa Lucia Conservacy, current owner of Rancho San Carlos (now the Santa Lucia Preserve)

Wild boar were first introduced on Rancho San Carlos by George Gordon Moore. Moore imported this wild boar from a preserve in Graham County, North Carolina. This preserve was 100,000 acres owned jointly by a Canadian trust company and Moore, who purchased the acreage about three years before the first World War.

The preserve included Hooper Bald Mountain, the highest peak in the area. There were still black bear and deer and the mountain men who lived there. These men were natural and very experienced hunters. Moore hired three of these men, built cabins for them, and proceeded to stick his preserve. Historically, the central portion of the preserve is said to be approximately 1000 acres in which there lived up to 40 black bears.

An American by the name of Waler Winans introduced Moore to the concept of adding wild boar at Hooper Bald Mountain, Winans had his own boar hunting forest in Belgium, and was so enthusiastic about the sport that Moore obtained the name of Winans' dealer in Berlin and proceeded to buy three boar and nine sows, the biggest and the toughest he could find anywhere. Moore was told that these animals came from the Ural Mountains of Russia.

In the early 1920's, George Moore purchased Rancho San Carlos and brought with him nine sows and three boar trapped on the Hooper Bald Mountain Preserve. By that time, Moore had bred an Irish Wolf Hound with a Great Dane to produce a dog that could hold its own against the boar, finding that the local North Carolina bear hound was no match for these Russian pigs.

It is reported by Moore that the biggest boar ever killed on the ranch (Rancho San Carlos), when hung measured 9 feet from tip to tip. The skin on its neck was three inches thick and eleven bullets were found, which over the years had been imbedded in the fat.

As for the spread of the boar in coastal California, one quote attributed to Randolph Hearst, Sr. said "your pigs have reached San Simeon".

Today, you will still find descendants of these boars in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and our own forests/remote areas.

Contents contributed courtesy of Lynn Overtree, Palo Corona Ranch, from a letter written c. 1963 by George Gordon Moore to Stuyvesant Fish.
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