DNR tells hunters to shoot wild pigs
State wildlife officials are encouraging hunters to help eliminate a growing population of feral pigs by reporting feral pig sightings or shooting the pigs.
Feral pigs are also known as wild pigs, wild hogs, wild boars, European wild boars, Russian wild boars, or razorbacks. They are found in as many as 23 states.
In some states they are descendents of European swine released by Spanish and European explorers.
A fact sheet on feral pigs in Wisconsin including a list of counties where feral pigs have been sighted or killed is available on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Web site at www.dnr.state.wi.us.
DNR officials say feral pigs have been documented in Wisconsin since at least 2000, but they have appeared in many additional areas in the past couple of years and have now been found in at least 29 counties.
Biologists say that finding these animals in the wild is likely the result of unintentional escapes from domestic swine facilities, releases from game farms, or illegal stocking.
"Free roaming pigs can be found across a wide variety of habitats and are highly destructive because of the rooting they do in search of food," says Brad Koele a DNR wildlife biologist. "
Koele added that the pigs are efficient predators who prey a variety of other animals including white-tailed deer fawns and ground nesting birds like grouse, woodcock, turkeys, and songbirds."
"Our goal is to aggressively remove these animals from the landscape and we are encouraging any hunters who encounter them to shoot them on sight," said Koele.
Wildlife officials say feral pigs are considered unprotected wild animals and may be hunted year-round. The only day they cannot be hunted with a gun is the Friday before the nine-day gun deer hunting season.
Also, hunting hours are the same as deer during the nine-day season. During the rest of the year, there are no hunting hour restrictions.
There is no bag limit on feral pigs. Landowners may shoot feral pigs on their own property without a hunting license.
Anyone else can shoot a feral pig as long as they possess a valid small game license and landowner permission if they are on private land.
State officials do ask that anyone shooting a feral pig call a DNR service center or contact a DNR wildlife biologist so that blood and tissue samples can be collected for disease testing in collaboration with USDA and the State veterinarians office.
Feral pig sightings can be reported through the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.wi.us or by calling Brad Koele, wildlife damage specialist at 608-266-2151.