The ongoing battle over invasive swine between an area hunting ranch and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will head back to court in the coming weeks.
Five ranch owners around the state, including one in northern Michigan say the law that prevents them from owning certain breeds of boars seriously hurts their business.
Ron McKendrick is the owner of Renegade Ranch in Cheboygan. Since the Department of Natural Resources started to enforce a ban on Russian boars last summer, he says he has lost 80% of his business.
"I used to have 10 to 14 people every weekend from the end of January until the end of June and that's not happening anymore," McKendrick explained.
McKendrick believes the DNR is violating his constitutional right to own these hogs on private land. The state banned these wild hogs saying they are a threat to farmers crops and are carriers of disease. Mc K endrick , who has been fighting the ruling in court , argues that his pigs are no more dangerous than a pig you find on a farm.
" They are trying to say that there are two species of pigs, they are trying to say that these hairy hogs are somehow a completely different species from the bald pigs. We think that's nonsense and we think the scientific community thinks it's nonsense," McKendrick's Attorney Joseph O'Leary said.
T he Renegade Ranch is one of the few places still open to hunt Russian boars.
" I don't want feral hogs either . W hat happens to my business if there are feral hogs overrunning Michigan ? I'm kind of out of business if you can go out of the woods and shoot a hog with a small game license then I'm out of business," McKendrick said.
N ext week , R on McKendrick will file a response to the DNR's lawsuit and then both sides will attend a pre-trial conference in Cheboygan County district court later this month.