Hunting For Hogs - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Hunting For Hogs

General Information

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission receives many inquiries each year about feral ("wild") hog hunting. Feral, free-roaming hogs degrade wildlife habitat, compete directly with wildlife for food, and can pose a disease threat to humans and domestic livestock. 

Effective July 30, 1999, hogs may be taken during open hunting seasons if they are roaming freely upon public lands and the weapon used is legal for the season. Feral hogs may also be taken on private lands at any time, as long as the hunter has legal access and the landowner's permission.

A hog that has escaped from its pen is not considered a feral hog for five days. If the owner gives notice to adjacent landowners, the hog isn't feral for ten more days.

According to Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission regulations, feral hogs may only be released onto a private game preserve or hunting area if the property is adequately fenced so as to prevent hogs from running at large; private game preserves adjacent to commercial swine facilities are required to have a double fence with at least 4 feet between fences.  The Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission has additional regulations regarding disease testing, slaughter, and identification of all hogs, including feral hogs, imported into Arkansas or being transported within the state of Arkansas or released on fenced hunting areas. 

You cannot turn hogs loose on public land to hunt.

Hunters with a revoked hunting license may not hunt or take feral hogs.


Feral "Wild" Hog Hunting Season

Description

Season Dates

Rules

Wildlife Management Areas

Any open daytime hunting seasons or
special deer, elk or turkey permit hunts

Hunters may use the weapons allowed for that season or hunt. During special permit hunts, only permit holders may shoot or possess feral hogs. There is no bag limit, but shooters must have a hunting license and may not pursue hogs at night. Feral hogs may not be taken on WMAs with the use of dogs, bait or traps. Dead feral hogs may be removed from the WMA or left where they were shot."

Other Public Land

Open Hunting Seasons

Subject to methods allowed for hunting season

Private Land

All Year

With owner's permission

Problems with Feral Hogs

What is a feral hog, anyway? Any hog (Sus scrofa), including Russian and European wild boar, which is roaming freely upon public lands and is living in a wild or feral state.

According to the dictionary, feral means "having returned to an untamed state from domestication". Since swine are not native to North America, any free-ranging hog is by definition feral. And when any animal is introduced to the wild outside its native range, there can be problems.

With hogs, the problems are numerous.

Habitat destruction : Feral hogs are rooters and wallowers, and their feeding and wallowing activities destroy terrestrial and aquatic vegetation, ruin water holes used by other wildlife, and contribute to erosion and siltation, which can adversely affect water quality.

Ground nesting bird predation: Hogs are omnivores and eat anything that gets in their way. This includes nests of ground nesting birds, such as turkeys, quail, killdeer, terns, and many other birds.

Damage to endangered or sensitive plant/animal communities: Many sensitive habitats are small and fragile, such as the unique acid seeps in portions of the Ouachita mountains and the cedar glades in the Ozarks. These places are attractive to feral hogs, and they cause major, sometime irreparable, damage.

Disease transmission to domestic livestock and pets: feral hogs carry brucellosis, which has been documented to have been transmitted from feral hogs to domestic stock, pseudorabies, which causes domestic pigs to abort, and other diseases. These problems can result in direct economic loss and indirect loss through quarantines.

Disease transmission to humans: There have been cases documented in Arkansas of feral hogs transmitting diseases such as brucellosis and trichinosis to humans, either directly or indirectly.

Direct food competition with native wildlife: One of the mainstays for many wildlife species is acorns. Deer, squirrels, ducks, turkeys, birds, bears and many other species depend on acorns for a significant part of their diet. Hogs also love acorns, and are very efficient at finding them (in the process, incidentally, tearing up wildlife habitat).

Crop depredation: A feral hog in a cornfield is every bit as, destructive as a feral hog in a woodlot. Hogs often cause heavy damage to row crops; gardens, flower beds, pine plantations, orchards, tree farms and pastures.

Abuse of landowner rights: Hogs can't read posted signs, but people can. The problem is, many people apparently don't care about landowner rights. It is fairly common practice in Arkansas for individuals to raise, buy or otherwise obtain hogs and pigs, then release them on public or private, land for future hunting opportunities.

Solutions

There is also both an opportunity and a need to increase recreational hog hunting opportunities on both public and private land. Despite the problems hogs cause for wildlife, habitats and people, they also provide recreational hunting opportunities. There is already much hog hunting being done, in the state-- hunting, is, in fact, the major reason hogs are released into the wild.

Other control measures include trapping and removal, at fencing to exclude hogs from critical areas: however, both these methods are time-consuming and expensive, arid neither provides foolproof control.

All the above methods can help the problem areas. However, the most effective means of controlling the feral problem is preventing the hogs from being released in the first place.

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