Officials in several states are out to rid themselves of feral hogs by trapping or killing them.

Open Season on Feral Hogs

The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill 87-0 this week to allow trapping of feral hogs year round without a permit. But it's not only the Bayou State declaring war: New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) two weeks ago called them a growing problem and said its goal is to eradicate feral hogs from the state.

The bill, House Bill 294 by Rep. Major Thibaut, a Democrat, moved on to the Louisiana Senate and is one of three pending bills targeting "nuisance" wildlife including nutria, which have been a scourge in Louisiana for decades.

Ed Anderson of The Times-Picayune reported May 4 on the bill's passage. According to his report, Thibaut said his bill will allow hunters to use any type of firearm to hunt feral hogs at night, but the hunter must notify the parish sheriff's office 24 hours prior to hunting them.

It's easy to find online information about the problems caused by feral hogs or websites such as this one offering tips for hunting them. DEC says anyone with a small game license in New York State may shoot feral swine "at any time and in any number."

DEC's April 21 news release listed these negative impacts in New York State from feral hogs:

  • Feral swine eat hard mast (acorns and other nuts) and directly compete with deer, bear, turkey, squirrel and waterfowl for food.
  • Feral swine consume the nests and eggs of ground nesting birds and reptiles.
  • Feral swine will kill and eat fawns and young domestic livestock.
  • Feral swine will eat almost any agricultural crop as well as tree seeds and seedlings.
  • Their rooting and wallowing habits destroy crops and native vegetation, cause erosion, and negatively affect water quality.
  • Feral swine have razor sharp tusks and can be aggressive toward humans and their pets.
  • Feral swine carry and can transmit several serious diseases including swine brucellosis, E. coli, trichinosis, and pseudorabies to livestock and/or humans. Some of these diseases, if introduced to domestic swine, can decimate the pork industry.

"Feral swine are highly adaptable and prolific," the agency noted. "If weather is good and food is plentiful, feral swine can breed as early as 6 months of age. They can breed several times a year and their litter size can range from 2-8, although litters as large as 10-12 have been reported. A feral swine population can triple in one year."

Posted by Jerry Laws on May 05, 2011

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