Liles said, “Wild hogs were brought into our area and released by unauthorized individuals, or they escaped from a supposedly secure enclosure. They are now becoming a major problem. Wild hogs rooting for food in the ground can cause lots of damage to farmers’ crops, pasture land and roadways. They are also opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything including deer fawns and the eggs of ground dwelling birds including wild turkeys. However, they mostly eat vegetable matter.”
“Once wild hogs get established in an area they are nearly impossible to get rid of,” Liles also stated, “but they can be controlled to some degree if all property owners work together to control the population. The best method to take wild hogs is by live trapping. Corral type traps work best but they need to be pre-baited so the hogs become accustomed to entering the enclosure. When the trap door is later set, usually several hogs may be caught at the same time.”
Liles remarked, “Wild hogs may also be hunted with or without the use of dogs. Some restrictions apply to the use of dogs during periods of stalk deer and spring turkey hunting seasons.”
According to the 2012-2013 Alabama Hunting & Fishing Digest, feral swine may be hunted year round during daylight hours only with gun, bow and arrow or spear. There is no bag limit. Hogs are considered to be game animals when they are being hunted, but once taken, they are no longer considered to be a game animal. There is no closed season on trapping wild hogs on private land, but live hogs may not be transported from the property from which they were trapped. It is illegal to release wild hogs on any property in the state of Alabama. Trapped hogs should be dispatched quickly and humanely.
Liles stated, “Wild hogs are good to eat, but all pork should be cooked until it is well done. The younger hogs make the best table fare. I would advise hunters to wear rubber gloves when handling and butchering any wild hog because they can and do carry diseases, both bacterial and viral, that can be fatal to man.
If you are out in the woods this fall hunting wild game, hiking or just enjoying nature, be on the lookout for wild hogs. Hogs are usually found near a source of water but may be on high ground especially when they are feeding on acorns. They have rather poor eyesight, but hogs have a keen sense of smell. They can also be dangerous. Wild hogs can weigh over 400 pounds but most weigh considerably less than that. Hunters and landowners are encouraged to harvest wild hogs using any legal means available to them. Hunters must be properly licensed and must obey all game laws when hunting wild hogs.
A good source of information on wild hogs can be found in the booklet: A Landowner’s Guide for Wild Pig Management, published by Mississippi State University Extension Service and Alabama Cooperative Extension System. This booklet has information on trapping and hunting wild hogs.
Danny McCarty lives in Calhoun County and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.