Monday, October 5, 2009

Feral Hogs and Woodlots

The past two issues of Small Farms Quarterly (a New York State publication) ran articles/updates on feral swine (also known as feral hogs) and their impacts on forests and woodlots.  Very interesting article.  I have shared the links below.

The article indicates that there are a few thousand feral hogs in Pennsylvania found in 18 counties.  If you notice any feral hogs you are asked to contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission to report their location.

Feral hogs have traditionally only been found across the southern United States.  Beginning in 2004, 12 additional states reported populations.  These states include such northern states as Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Michigan, and Wisconsin.  It has become very clear that feral hogs have no problem surviving and reproducing in the cold winter climates of the northeast.

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I have been doing some extensive research on the feral hog problems in the lower states. The company I work for may have a solution that could help some of the rural folks out there. We have been supplying electrified netting to the USA for nearly three decades. These netting applications are built specifically for each specie and have been successful against everything from rabbits to mountain lion and bear.

We currently have a pig net for sale that is being used primarily for pastured animals but could be modified and/or tweaked to keep out the feral hog. They are perfect for keeping predators away from gardens, yards, food plots, orchards, crops, etc. They can also be hooked together for longer runs. I realize that this will not help with the overall population, but it will help folks keep these animals somewhat at bay, and if done on a large scale would force them into larger groups because of decreased acres to roam. In that sense they would be easier to trap and/or to kill. You may see these nets at

I plan to travel to these states to view the terrain, talk to some people, bring along some nets and set them up to test the areas and see what we will be up against. I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass me along to some contact people in the area for a possible visit. The more I can learn about these animals the more I can get a netting application designed to fence them out. I look forward to hearing from you along with any additional ideas that could help. Thanks for your time and have a good day.