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Wild Hogs

Hunting Regulations Icon Mississippi Hunting

Wild Hogs: Don’t Move the Problem

It is illegal to import wild hogs into the state. It is also illegal to transport wild hogs in Mississippi without a permit from the MDWFP. The fines for transporting and releasing wild hogs into the wild, and for transporting wild hogs without a permit range from $2,000-$5,000, includes jail time, and loss of hunting privileges.

Why are there such stiff penalties for moving wild hogs?

Wild hogs wreak havoc to private property, agriculture, forests, and our native wildlife. Due to their high reproductive potential, omnivorous diet, and immense appetite, wild hogs can easily out-compete native species like white-tailed deer. Even though wild hogs are nothing new to Mississippi, most people do not realize that they are not a native species and were in fact introduced here in the 1500s by the Spanish explorer Hernando Desoto.

Historically, wild hogs were limited mostly to a few areas of the southeastern states, California, Hawaii, and Texas. In the last 20 years, however, wild hog ranges have expanded dramatically to include much of the United States, and populations now exist in such northerly climates as Michigan, North Dakota, and Oregon. This current national level of wild hog distribution is not a consequence of natural events. Instead, it has resulted largely from translocation of wild hogs by humans. The greatest contributing factor has been hog-hunting enthusiasts who capture, relocate, and release wild hogs to establish local populations for recreational hunting. The result is the sudden presence of wild hogs to areas where they previously did not exist.

Wild hogs are not game animals!

The popularity of wild hogs as a “game” species has played a major role in expansion of their range throughout the United States. In recent years, many television shows, social media, and outdoor broadcasts have hailed the hog as an exciting “dangerous game” animal. These efforts by the media have caused hunters to look favorably at hogs as a game animal instead of as the destructive invasive species it truly is.

Mississippi’s state law designates wild hogs as a nuisance animal. Their legal recognition as an invasive, exotic, and destructive species means they do not merit the same protection, management, or conservation efforts offered to our game animals like white-tailed deer or wild turkeys. Wild hogs have been considered a “nuisance species” (or similar status) in almost every state which they occur. In addition, many states (including Mississippi) allow free take of wild hogs at any time of year, any time of day or night, and with any weapon of choice on private lands.

Why are wild hogs a problem?

  • Wild hogs have extremely high reproductive potential. Some individuals can reach sexual maturity and reproduce as early as six months of age. While some sows do produce two litters per year, most produce only one. Even so, for each litter of pigs, 4 – 6 individuals survive and are added to the population each year. Example: 20 sows can add 80 – 120 new individuals to the population in a year.
  • Wild hogs compete with native wildlife for food and can consume 5% of their body weight in food each day. Their consumption of herbaceous forbs, vines and shrubs, and hard (acorns) and soft mast (persimmons) can have a serious negative effect on the condition of white-tailed deer.
  • Wild hogs will even prey on young deer, snakes, amphibians, eggs and new hatchlings of ground-nesting birds (such as, turkey, quail, and ducks), turtles, alligators, and any other animals that they encounter.
  • Wild hogs can transmit serious diseases like brucellosis, pseudorabies, anthrax, and leptospirosis to humans, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Once wild hogs reach about 40 lbs., they have very few natural predators.
  • Wild hogs cause damage to agriculture, timber, water quality, wildlife habitat, levees, roads, landscaping, and cause soil erosion.
  • Wild hogs annually cause as much as $800 million damage to crops and the environment in the United States.

What is the solution?

State and federal agencies, organizations, and landowners are working with the Mississippi Legislature to solve the problem, but there are no easy solutions. Incidental take of wild hogs while hunting game animals is encouraged, but the practice of recreational hunting is woefully ineffective at controlling wild hogs in Mississippi’s landscapes. Removal by trapping is the most effective method of control, but can be time consuming. There are no registered toxicants or poisons legal for killing wild hogs, although research is ongoing to produce a registered product in the United States.

How can you help?

  • Landowners must respond immediately to reduce wild hog populations when they are detected.
  • Report persons involved in transporting and releasing wild hogs into the wild. Call our free 24-hour Wildlife Violation Hotline at 1-800-BE-SMART.
  • Wild hogs may be taken or trapped on private lands year round.
  • Share information to educate others about the problem of wild hogs.
  • Support efforts to strengthen laws and regulations that restrict movement of wild hogs.

For more information on wild hogs, visit www.mdwfp.com/wildhogs or refer to the Mississippi State University Extension publication “A Landowner’s Guide to Wild Pig Management: Practical Methods for Wild Pig Control” and the video “A Pickup Load of Pigs: The Feral Swine Pandemic” on the website www.wildpiginfo.com.

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