Wild hogs are no longer regarded as big game animals in Tennessee. Instead, they are considered a nuisance species deemed destructive. It is illegal to possess or release wild hogs. They 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.
Unfortunately, sport hunting is not an effective way to keep wild hog populations from growing and expanding. 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.
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 may obtain an exemption from their TWRA regional office allowing them to kill wild hogs at night using a spotlight and trap year-round. Family members and tenants that qualify under the Farmland Owner License Exemption (License Fees) and up to ten additional designees may help private landowners with wild hog control efforts. For properties over 1000 acres, an additional designee per 100 acres may be assigned. 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. Landowners may also take advantage of technical assistance provided by TWRA to help with a trapping program or additional wild hog control techniques.
If you are interested in helping control the hog population in Tennessee, there are many opportunities. You may sign up as a designee with a landowner who is obtaining a wild hog control exemption. 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.
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, should you decide to process a wild hog, use protective gear while handling them and cook meat to the proper temperature.
For more information regarding wild hogs see our website: www.tnwildlife.org
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.