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Controlling Feral Swine

Feral hogs are an invasive, destructive pest wreaking havoc from Canada to Mexico. They eat nearly everything in sight and can even kill young livestock. They also carry many diseases that can be spread to pets, livestock, and humans. They’re highly prolific, producing at least three litters of four-to-12 piglets every two years.

Dale Nolte is the program manager for the National Feral Swine Damage Management Program. He says you’ll know if they’re around.

"They like water, they’ll wallow in water so if you’ve got water sources, that’s indicating where they’ll be. When they get out, often times they’ll rub on trees, so you’ll see mud marks on trees as well," says Nolte. "But if you’ve got, like, a freshly-planted yard, they’ll just turn it upside down. If there’s one or two, it’s much more subtle, then you would be looking for tracks or the rubbing marks."

Laws vary in each state, but Nolte recommends taking action if feral hogs are terrorizing your area.

"A lot of people will shoot them, a lot of people will trap them themselves. They’re incredibly smart animals, so if you don’t know what you’re doing, sometimes your first efforts are just educating them to stay away from traps and be careful around hunters," he says. "Unless you have experience, there is some benefit to contacting experts, either maybe private people, state or federal agents."

 Nolte says the agency’s overall goal is to eliminate feral swine in areas where they’re first emerging, or reduce damages where populations.

Learn more about feral swine 

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