Extension to hold wild hog management workshop

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2024

By Tana Shealey 

Lowndes County Extension Coordinator

In Lowndes, Butler and Crenshaw counties landowners are increasingly dealing with the problem of wild hogs, but research shows this is a national problem with wild pigs threatening people, wildlife, and agricultural products. 

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“Although estimates vary widely, wild pig damage to agriculture nationally likely exceeds 1 billion dollars per year, with reports from many states in the Southeast citing damages in the tens of millions of dollars each year,” said wildlife specialist Mark Smith with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. 

Smith said that wild pigs are a non-native species in North America. They are most prevalent in the southeast United States and California, and there are smaller, localized populations. 

“Their impact to natural resources and wildlife are much more difficult to quantify, but damage estimates likely double that of what is known for agriculture,” Smith said. “Wild pigs compete for food and cover resources with economically important game species such as white-tailed deer and wild turkeys,” he added.

People should be careful around wild pigs.

Smith stated, “Wild pigs have been known carriers of more than 30 bacterial and viral diseases and numerous internal and external parasites. Swine brucellosis, leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis and swine influenza are but a few of the common diseases that may be transmitted to humans, livestock or pets. Transmission may be through direct contact with the animal or its bodily fluids such as blood, saliva or urine or indirectly through feeding and watering containers, ponds or streams contaminated by wild pigs.” 

Smith cautioned that the diseases vary around the country but anyone handling or butchering wild pigs should take precautions and wear latex gloves.

Regional Extension Agent Bence Carter said he wants residents to learn about their options.

“Landowners have numerous strategies at their disposal to manage wild pigs, however none are as effective as trapping,” Carter observed.

“Trapping is most effective since you’re able to remove multiple pigs at one time.  Wild pigs are very prolific, so trapping is the only method that can effectively keep up with their reproduction potential,” Carter stated.

The Lowndes County Extension office will hold a wild pig management class Jan. 26, at the Southern Sportsman’s Lodge. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required by calling (334) 303-8360 or register online at https://www.aces.edu/event/wild-pig-management/.  Lunch will be provided to registered participants.  

Regional Extension agent Lynn Dickenson said the three-hour long class will be beneficial to both large and small property owners.

“This workshop will focus on the top ten mistakes in wild pig control, offer updates on the Soil and Water Conservation Committee’s feral swine program, and we will have equipment demonstrations.” 

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome. Anyone planning to attend this program is encouraged to let us know if you have accessibility needs.