Tag Archives: feral hog

Northern Invasion-Feral Hogs Taking New Territory

Seeing a feral hog in thick snow was surreal to me.

I had seen thousands in swamps, cactus thickets and rocky canyons in  Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Florida but seeing one bust out from behind a tree on a snow-covered hill in Michigan was wild.

The author photographed this big feral hog in Michigan in 2001.

This was back in 2001, just 20 years after the first feral hogs were spotted in Michigan. Now they are in virtually every county in the state.

The feral hog issue is definitely most pronounced in the South but hogs are becoming increasingly common in the North.

A decade ago I did an interview with a radio station in New Jersey because they had just opened a hog hunting season and the host wanted advice of dealing with these invasive exotics.

If states on the northern tier of their range in America do not take action then hogs will gain a permanent foothold above the Mason-Dixon line.

Some states have taken an unusual stance on dealing with hogs. They have made hunting them illegal.

It seems counterintuitive to eliminate a potential method of removing many hogs from the landscape.

The reasoning in states like New York, Minnesota and Kansas is the spread of feral hogs has had much to do with ranches that put them behind high fences for hunting. Hogs of course escape and the population outside fences spreads.

I have no doubt this has contributed greatly to the spread of hogs in my native Texas and have written on this in Texas Fish & Game.

It’s a bizarre idea to prohibit a hunter who is out to seek deer for example from killing one when at the end of the day state officials will have to kill hogs to stop their spread.

Perhaps simply banning importing them or transporting live pigs would be better.

It will be interesting to see how management of hogs changes as they multiply.

Will states that ban hunting them see success in their fight against this foreign invader? Or will they have to change their tactics?

I predicted the urban areas of the country would see a huge increase in hogs including gigantic ones and we are seeing that unfold at this very moment.

I am now predicting within a decade every state in the North will have growing hog populations perhaps with the exception of Maine.

These highly adaptive animals have proven they can thrive in the face of great pressure from hunters, professional hog trappers and even growing urbanization.

The feral hog invasion of the north continues and it will take intensive action and focused management to stop their forward momentum.

Chester Moore, Jr.

Harvey: Huge wild boar visits neighborhood (video)-this will be a common site in some areas

Don’t let the name The Woodlands fool you.

Yes, it is beautifully developed with plenty of trees and greenbelts but The Woodlands is part of the Houston area and it is usually bustling with human activity.

After Hurricane Harvey’s torrential rains hit the area last weekend, wildlife from the local forests started to invade the neighborhoods.

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(Photo courtesy CJoslinROCK)

Jon Joslin captured this footage of a massive wild boar that came trotting through the yard as if it owned the place.

This is exactly what we warned would happen in an earlier entry explaining that the Houston area has a massive feral hog and coyote population that floodwaters would reveal.

Texas’ feral hog population estimates are in the three million range with some believing that is very conservative. Feral hogs have officially become the most harvested game animal in Texas with more than 750,000 taken by hunters and trappers. That is more than 150,000 above the state’s annual whitetail harvest and Texas has by far the largest deer harvest in the nation.

Feral hogs despite their reputation are not out to get people-well at least most of them aren’t.

Scientists have recently uncovered a profile of killer hogs-yes those that kill people and we reported on it here.

You might now want to read that one before going to bed-or a camping trip. Yeah, its kind of creepy.

Most hogs however want to be left alone but animals stressed by being displaced in a flood situation just might be more prone to lashing out than one you see while taking a stroll on your favorite hiking trail.

If you see a hog during these flooding conditions chances are it it not someone’s pet. Keep in mind not all feral hogs are black. Many are brown, some are white, others spotted and even blonde.

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Feral hogs are not all black. In fact they can have a range of colors. (US Fish & Wildlife Service Photo)

Even sows (females) can be aggressive. Sows with young are particularly testy.

By all means do not feed any hogs you see in the area. Habituating them to your property is a bad idea at every level. Even in the best case scenario your yard will look like someone plowed it for agriculture.

As the human tragedy of Hurricane Harvey continues to unfold, displaced wildlife will be encountered by thousands.

The best play is to stay a safe distance, especially in the case of hogs.

That way you and the hog can stay out of trouble.

Chester Moore, Jr.