Hunters needed to root out feral swine this fall

November 05, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Hunters are asked to report any sightings of feral swine this fall as state wildlife officials seek to slow the spread of the invasive animals.

The wild hogs are free-ranging and not under a livestock farmer’s control.

They compete with native wildlife for food and damage soil through rooting and feeding, which increases soil erosion and damages crops.

Feral swine are native to Eurasia but populations exist in at least 35 states, including Illinois. They have adapted since their introduction in the 1500s.

States with the highest numbers of wild pigs include, California, Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas. 

Stacey Solano, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said most of the wild hogs in Illinois are located in southeastern counties including Bond, Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Hamilton, Jasper, Lawrence and Wayne.

Other reports have come from Fulton, Knox and Henry Counties.
There also have been sightings in Sangamon, Christian and Macon Counties in central Illinois.

“There have been scattered reports in central Illinois,” Solano said. “They are not running rampant, but we are asking hunters to let us know if they spot them so we can help USDA keep track of them.”

Experts said the animals also carry at least 30 diseases that pose a risk for people, pets, wildlife and livestock.

Feral swine can prey on ground nesting birds, amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife. 

Hunters should report sightings to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Hunters with valid firearms cards may shoot feral swine with landowners’ permission.

Officials said wild hogs cause $1 billion in economic losses nationally each year. 

Call the DNR division of wildlife resources at (217) 785-2511 to report a sighting.

For more information, visit the USDA’s feral swine page at:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/feral_swine/