FORT BENNING, Ga. – At the huge army post on Georgia's western edge, they call Maj. Bobby Toon the Pig Czar.
Toon has been assigned to help rid Fort Benning of its unwanted guests: an estimated 6,000 feral pigs that roam the 184,000-acre installation.
The animals, common throughout Georgia, are known for tearing up woodlands and farms. They are aggressive foragers, gobbling up native vegetation and endangered species.
"These pigs feed and breed," said Toon "That's all they care about. I've been here off and on for 17 years, and I can never remember a pig population as big as it is now."
He added, "These animals can smell a turkey egg three miles away ... They're also a danger to tortoises and woodpeckers."
Toon, a former 2nd Battalion, 69th Armor Regiment company commander who now instructs a course at the Maneuver Captains Career Course, has personally brought down 68 of them over the past year.
But he's not the only pig hunter at work.
About 2,000 people who are authorized to hunt on post have been encouraged to go after the feral pigs. They must be active duty, retired military or civilian workers at Benning and must have a license from the base.
The base is offering a $40 bounty for every pig tail that's brought in.
"We did a cost estimate with civilian contractors but they wanted way too much money for the job," Toon said.
Since the program last July, more than 900 pigs have been killed.