Feral hogs will be trouble in the wild
By Bob Frye
Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Pennsylvania hunters are going to be asked to do a job that none of their counterparts anywhere else in the country have been able to tackle: control feral hogs that escape into the wild.
Pennsylvania Game Commissioners months ago proposed regulations to prohibit their “importation, possession and release into the wild,” and were set to vote on them at their recent meeting. The idea was to cut wild hogs — which to date in Pennsylvania have always originated as escapees from hunting preserves — off at the source.
Commissioners tabled their idea, though, after Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law Senate Bill 644. It gives authority over hogs behind fences to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
The law states that male hogs released into a preserve must be neutered. But there still will be problems in the wild like those seen elsewhere, predicted Johnna Seeton, the Legislative Animal Network officer whose lawsuit prompted the recent hog debate.
“I probably won't be around to see the degradation,” she said. “Many of our young people here will be.”
There are an estimated 5 million-plus hogs — which can reach 36 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 400 pounds — roaming across at least 35 states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Texas has the most with about 2.6 million; Florida has 500,000-plus.
None of those states has been able to get rid of them.
In fact, though Texas spends upwards of $7 million on feral hog control each year, the population may triple within five years, predicts a Texas A&M University study released earlier this year. It would take killing two-thirds of the current population annually just to maintain herds at existing levels, it added.
Game Commission officials are still hoping to keep those kinds of populations from getting established here and competing with white-tailed deer, black bears, turkeys and other species for food and space.
“We want them all killed,” executive director Carl Roe said.
A 2011 executive order that allows licensed hunters to kill free-roaming hogs outside of fences at any time using legal sporting arms remains in effect, said Rich Palmer, chief of the commission's bureau of wildlife protection.
Commissioner Ralph Martone of New Castle said he hopes hunters will aggressively target feral hogs as opportunities arise because that's the best “solution for the time being,” he said.
“We're going to keep the pressure on any feral swine that escape and get outside a fence,” Martone said.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Big trout key to Yough River stocking effort
- Outdoors notices: March 8
- Frye: Questions remain for Allegheny River walleye
- Frye: Many challenges for deer hunting
- Kids turning attention to archery in record numbers
- Frye: Sunday hunting heats up again
- Searching for shed antlers soars in popularity
- Outdoors notebook: Fish commissioner pushing promotion of carp fishing
- Outdoor notices: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014
- Club to start stocking trout in Yough River beginning March 8
- Thinning hares raise concerns across Pa.