DNR wants hunters to help eliminate feral pigsState wildlife officials are asking hunters to help eliminate a growing problem population of feral pigs by reporting feral pig sightings or shooting them.
State wildlife officials are asking hunters to help eliminate a growing problem population of feral pigs by reporting feral pig sightings or shooting them.
“Free roaming pigs can be found across a wide variety of habitats and are highly destructive because of the rooting they do in search of food,” says Brad Koele a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist.
“They’re also efficient predators preying on many species including white-tailed deer fawns and ground nesting birds like grouse, woodcock, turkeys, and songbirds,” he added.
Officials note that feral pigs are known to carry a number of diseases of importance to the domestic swine industry, including swine brucellosis, pseudorabies and leptospirosis however, infected feral pigs have not yet been documented in Wisconsin.
“Our goal is to aggressively remove these animals from the landscape and we are encouraging any hunters who encounter them to shoot them on sight,” Koele said.
Feral pigs are also known as wild pigs, wild hogs, wild boars, European wild boars, Russian wild boars, or razorbacks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says they can be found in as many as 39 states and some experts estimate their population at 4 million in the United States.
In some states they are descendents of European swine released by Spanish and European explorers. In others, they are descendents of escaped or released domestic swine or even hybrids of European and domestic swine.
Feral pigs have now been found in at least 29 Wisconsin counties. Information on feral pig hunting, including a list of counties where feral pigs have been sighted or killed, is available on the DNR Web site (www.dnr.state.wi.us).
Feral pigs are considered unprotected wild animals and may be hunted year-round. The only day they cannot be hunted with a gun is the Friday before the nine-day gun deer hunting season.
Also, hunting hours are the same as deer during the nine-day season. During the rest of the year, there are no hunting hour restrictions.
There is no bag limit on feral pigs. Landowners may shoot feral pigs on their own property without a hunting license. Anyone else can shoot a feral pig as long as they possess a valid small game license, sport license, or patron license and have landowner permission if they are on private land.
State officials do ask that anyone shooting a feral pig call a DNR service center or contact a DNR wildlife biologist so that blood and tissue samples can be collected for disease testing in collaboration with USDA and the State veterinarians office.
Feral pig sightings can be reported through the DNR Web site or by calling Brad Koele, Wildlife Damage Specialist at (608) 266-2151.