Wild Hogs Remain a Concern in S.C.

SCDNR -The presence of wild or “feral” pigs has been called by some an “ecological disaster” and the destructive nature of this invasive species easily lends itself to such a description. During the last year, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources has made an effort to provide increased information on wild hogs in South Carolina by participating in several workshops with Clemson University Extension and other agencies.

Wild pigs have been present in coastal South Carolina since they were released by the Spanish in the 1500s. Their historic range was primarily limited to floodplains of the major river systems. In the 1980s wild pigs were found in only 26 counties, with the distribution generally resembling their historic range in the coastal plain. By 2008 wild pigs were documented in all 46 counties with small scattered populations in the piedmont related to recent translocations by humans.

Wild pigs reproduce at a prodigious rate, sometimes producing litters of piglets twice a year. They directly compete with native wildlife for food, and they can negatively impact natural ecosystems. Hogs present problems related to land, wildlife, and timber management. They can cause significant damage to agriculture and pose disease risks to humans, as well as, domestic livestock.

Wild hogs are extremely difficult to control once they become established. They are not protected in South Carolina and there is no closed season or bag limit on private land. Over the last few years in order to slow the spread of hogs in South Carolina, the General Assembly has made it illegal to release hogs into the wild or to remove a live hog from the wild without a permit. Additionally, the DNR has instituted special hunts for wild hogs on Wildlife Management Areas where they occur.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has developed expanded information on its website related to wild hog management and control at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/hog.

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