ROSS (AP) - Officials are trying to determine how a boar found its way to northwestern North Dakota, where it was shot and killed by a railroad worker.
The feral hog was killed northwest of Stanley on Dec. 22 by a member of a crew that was working on the railroad track in the area and had encountered the animal earlier in the day. During that incident, fellow crew members chased the tusked animal away when it ran toward Darren Johnson, of Minot, who was facing the other way.
"I don't know what he'd have done if he got to me," Johnson said. "It was beastly looking and pretty athletic. It ran like a deer and jumped a three-strand barbed-wire fence like it wasn't there. The guys finished their shift and went to town to get a rifle."
Tim DeFoe, of Watford City, a member of the crew, said his first shot did little to the animal that weighed about 300 pounds.
"It didn't even flinch," he said. "The second shot hit him in the flank and turned him at about 10 yards."
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Two more shots put the hog down for good, DeFoe said. He took it to Stanley.
"People couldn't believe it," he said. "Everybody and their dog was there."
Randy Kreil, wildlife division chief for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said that although feral hogs - wild swine from domestic ancestry - are not usually found in North Dakota, "I don't think this is a hoax at all."
"It's not considered wildlife, that's for sure," he said. "One would assume it escaped from some facility."
Deputy State Veterinarian Beth Carlson said there are no licensed feral hog owners in the state. However, "We do occasionally have people that are unaware what animals require licensing," she said.
Some officials speculate the boar came from Canada. There was a feral hog problem in the Pembina Gorge in northeastern North Dakota about six years ago, after several of the long-tusked animals escaped from a pen in Manitoba and wandered across the border.
DeFoe said he is having his hog processed at a butcher shop in Watford City. He plans to mount the tusked head.