In response to concerns from landowners, the legislature, the Tennessee Farm Bureau, and TWRA biologists, there were major changes to the management of wild hogs in 2011. Wild hogs are no longer regarded as big game animals in Tennessee. Instead, they are considered nuisance animals that need to be controlled. Wild hogs cause extensive damage to crops, wildlife habitat, contribute to erosion and water pollution, and carry diseases harmful to livestock and other animals as well as humans. The new wild hog management program is helping to stop the illegal stocking of wild hogs, increasing the public’s awareness of these problem animals, and benefitting landowners. In fact, many states are looking to Tennessee’s program for answers to their current wild hog issues
Many interest groups have worked with TWRA to improve the management of wild hogs. This coalition of organizations has accomplished a lot in the past year including supporting legislation that increased the penalties for illegally transporting wild hogs. In addition, the coalition has established a reward of $4,000 for information leading to the conviction of persons illegally moving wild hogs. Furthermore, the group has been spreading the message that wild hogs are non-native destructive animals and landowners should do what they can prevent their further spread.
Landowners are now able to more easily control wild hogs on their properties. They can shoot wild hogs year-round during the day without limit and trap with bait outside of big game seasons. In addition, landowners who obtain an exemption from their TWRA regional office can kill wild hogs at night using a spotlight and trap year-round. In order to renew each year, exemption holders are required to report the number of hogs killed on their property and the manner in which they were killed to TWRA. In 2011, landowners reported the eradication of approximately 3,200 wild hogs statewide.
The exemption process creates opportunities for those interested in taking wild hogs. Family members and tenants that qualify under the Farmland Owner License Exemption and up to ten additional people may help private landowners with wild hog control efforts.
There is no longer a statewide hunting season for wild hogs in Tennessee. Unfortunately, sport hunting is not an effective way to keep wild hog populations from spreading. In fact, it’s being proven nationally that sport hunting opportunities lead to the further spread of wild hogs into new areas. These new populations of wild hogs are the result of illegal stocking by individuals whose goal is to establish local hunting opportunities.
Although there is no longer sport hunting of wild hogs in Tennessee, opportunities still exist for hunters to take wild hogs. Wild hogs can be taken incidental to scheduled bear-dog hunts and the TWRA has established a wild hog control season on Catoosa and Skinner Mountain Wildlife Management Areas where the use of dogs is permitted. Finally, wild hogs can be taken incidental to certain hunt types on eleven wildlife management areas: Alpine Mountain, Bridgestone-Firestone Centennial Wilderness, Catoosa, North and South Cherokee, Foothills, Skinner Mountain, Kyker Bottoms Refuge, North Cumberland, Standing Stone State Forest, and Tellico Lake. Refer to the regulations for these individual WMAs to determine how and when hogs can be taken.
However wild hogs are taken, the TWRA wants to remind everyone to use extreme caution while handling them. Wild hogs are known carriers of at least 45 different parasites and diseases that pose a threat to livestock, pets, wildlife, and in some cases, human health. Therefore, the TWRA recommends burying wild hogs and not consuming them. However, the TWRA realizes that many are eaten. In this case, individuals should use protective gear while handling them and meat should be cooked to proper temperatures.
The possession of live hogs originating from the wild is prohibited.
The TWRA now has wild hog trapping equipment that is being utilized to control wild hog populations on wildlife management areas and to assist private landowners. Wildlife Officers and biologists were very busy trapping wild hogs during the first quarter of 2012, successfully trapping nearly 500. Landowners should contact their regional office if they have wild hogs present on their land and need help starting a trapping program.
For more information regarding wild hogs see our website: www.tnwildllife.org
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.