Monday, October 5, 2009
Feral Hogs and Woodlots
Feral hogs have high reproductive rates and few natural predators. Bears and coyotes rarely attack hogs due to the sows protective behavior. This allows hogs to expand into new areas very rapidly. They can be big problems for farmer, causing extensive crop damage. They can also cause considerable environmental damage to forests, wetlands, riparian areas, and other aquatic ecosystems. Their wallowing and rooting behaviors can cause extensive damage to soils, wetland vegetation, water quality (through sedimentation and nutrient loading), ground nesting birds, as well as reptiles, amphibians, and rare plant communities. It has even been suggested that feral hog activity can adversely impact trout populations.
Landowners need to learn to recognize signs of feral hog activity. If you observe signs, damage or the swine themselves be sure and report it to your state or USDA officials. In Pennsylvania, the Game Commission is in charge of this program. Government trapping and eradication programs are available.