Skip to main content

War on Feral Hogs Rages On

Hogs tear up the ground and anything they encounter. Is hope in sight?

War on Feral Hogs Rages On

Farmers and wildlife agencies agree when it comes to reducing and controlling the wild hog population. (Shutterstock image)

From Wildlife Forever

Think about the causes of wildlife habitat destruction. What comes to mind? Usually, the first thought is man has done something to screw up things. Industrial pollution, runoff, unchecked development, perhaps climate change. However, there is massive wildlife habitat destruction that continues to take place in the United States, but man is not the culprit. Rather, the destruction comes from wild pigs.

The species is a big problem—not only for wildlife habitat but also for agricultural crops, pastureland and timberland. It’s so big, in fact, that the new federal farm bill contains $75 million to combat these destructive animals.

The Invaders

Feral hogs. Swine. Razorbacks. The names are numerous. More than 30 states have populations of wild pigs, but the south-central and southeastern U.S. are the major problem areas.


WildHogs
More than 30 states have populations of wild pigs, but the south-central and southeastern U.S. are the major problem areas.

Feral pigs are an invasive species. Their domestic ancestors initially were brought to the New World by explorers and other European settlers as a food source. Wild boars were also transported and introduced into the forests of America for sport hunting. They bred with other wild sows and with escaped domestic pigs, forming the source that led to today’s problem pigs.


Farm Bill

Money from the new farm bill will initially focus on demonstration projects in the states most impacted by wild hog densities and destruction: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The Federal Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program is being led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS will lead in eradicating and controlling wild hogs. The NRCS will lead the restoration effort. Partnerships with non-federal agencies will make up the third leg of the project stool.

Find the best day and time to hunt in your zip code

Arkansas’ NRCS State Conservationist Mike Sullivan explained what to expect with the farm bill funding. “This is a brand-new authority with additional funding. APHIS will be bolstering their staff to do control activities and their research component,” Sullivan said. “We’ll use our existing authorities to do the restoration practices after control has been demonstrated. And we’ll be working through partners and partner agreements to provide additional trapping services and financial assistance to producers who participate. We have four potential pilot projects.”

A rough estimate indicates there are 300,000 to 500,000 wild hogs in Arkansas. The goal is to reduce feral hog numbers by 80 percent. An ambitious plan, especially when hogs can reproduce several times a year. As their numbers have grown, the estimated row-crop loss is $19 million annually. The damage extends far beyond ag losses.

A lifelong biologist, Luke Lewis is an assistant chief of wildlife management for the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission and oversees the agency’s feral hog efforts. “Hogs are definitely a problem for timber companies,” he said. “They’ll root up freshly planted pine seedlings to eat the roots. Those seedlings are fertilized, and the hogs go right to them.”




Hogs tear up the ground and anything they encounter, including ground-nesting birds’ eggs like turkeys and quail. A few rooting hogs will completely destroy a wildlife food plot.

Click to subscribe to Game & Fish Magazine

“We spent 18,000 man-hours last year trapping and working on hog issues,” Lewis said. Hogs are trapped live in baited corral-like structures. “Our biologists are now saying hogs are becoming such a problem that it’s more difficult to successfully implement on-the-ground management activities because of hog damage.”

Farmers and wildlife agencies agree when it comes to reducing and controlling the wild hog population.


“Ninety percent of the land these hogs are tearing up is privately owned,” Lewis said. “If we’re to have any success, we’re going to have to work with private landowners, especially farmers. It’s going to take all of us to be successful.”

Learn more about Wildlife Forever 

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

Learn more about two new Elite Archery bows, the Enkore and Remedy, two new broadhead from Slick Trick and a new site from Custom Bow Equipment (CBE).

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

Bear Archery's newest bows - Redemption EKO and Legit RTH - are light, adjustable and fast.

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

New for 2021: Mathews V3 27 & 31 Bows

Bowhunter Editor Curt Wells had an exciting visit with Mark Hayes, design engineer for Mathews, as the pair looked at the new V3 27 and V3 31 bows.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Here's a look at the latest shotguns, loads, calls, clothing and more.Great New Gear for Ducks & Geese 2021 SHOT Show

Great New Gear for Ducks & Geese 2021

Game and Fish Staff - January 12, 2021

Here's a look at the latest shotguns, loads, calls, clothing and more.

Make this venison chorizo recipe and cook it right away or freeze it (cooked or raw) and use it as needed.Venison Chorizo Recipe Wild Game

Venison Chorizo Recipe

Allie Doran - October 30, 2020

Make this venison chorizo recipe and cook it right away or freeze it (cooked or raw) and use...

From dabblers to divers, there's an Avian-X Topflight decoy for every duck hunter.Deceive Ducks with Ultra-Realistic Decoys SHOT Show

Deceive Ducks with Ultra-Realistic Decoys

Game and Fish Staff - December 10, 2020

From dabblers to divers, there's an Avian-X Topflight decoy for every duck hunter.

The new bolt gun with a synthetic stock is available in several popular hunting chamberings.Accurate, Affordable, Rugged: CZ-USA 557 Eclipse Bolt-Action SHOT Show

Accurate, Affordable, Rugged: CZ-USA 557 Eclipse Bolt-Action

Game and Fish Staff - December 02, 2020

The new bolt gun with a synthetic stock is available in several popular hunting chamberings.

See More Trending Articles

More Conservation & Politics

Feature from the National Shooting Sports Foundation on Denver's first Black-owned gun club.NSSF Spotlight: Thriving Gun Range Focusses on Diverse Ownership Conservation & Politics

NSSF Spotlight: Thriving Gun Range Focusses on Diverse Ownership

Larry Keane - February 12, 2021

Feature from the National Shooting Sports Foundation on Denver's first Black-owned gun club.

Sportsmen's Alliance: 'Great bill for houndsmen, sportsmen, scientific wildlife management and conservation.Montana Bill Would Open Hound Hunting for Black Bears Conservation & Politics

Montana Bill Would Open Hound Hunting for Black Bears

Sportsmen's Alliance - February 26, 2021

Sportsmen's Alliance: 'Great bill for houndsmen, sportsmen, scientific wildlife management and...

Op/Ed by National Shooting Sports Foundation on the POTUS's wishes to ban MSRs.NSSF: President Biden's 'Tone-Deaf' Call for Increased Gun Control Conservation & Politics

NSSF: President Biden's 'Tone-Deaf' Call for Increased Gun Control

Larry Keane - February 18, 2021

Op/Ed by National Shooting Sports Foundation on the POTUS's wishes to ban MSRs.

Featured by National Shooting Sports Foundation.NSSF Profile: 5 Questions With U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) Conservation & Politics

NSSF Profile: 5 Questions With U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.)

National Shooting Sports Foundation - February 18, 2021

Featured by National Shooting Sports Foundation.

See More Conservation & Politics

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now