RALEIGH, NC (September 26, 2022) – A new pilot program through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services aims to give landowners in five North Carolina counties the tools they need to eliminate invasive pigs from their lands. The 5-County Trap Loaner Program, which is now available in Anson, Davie, Haywood, Montgomery and Randolph counties, provides high-tech corral traps that can be borrowed for up to one month. The pilot program is funded by the US Farm Bill and is available to eligible landowners through August 2023.
“Wild pigs are one of the nation’s most destructive invasive animals, posing a threat to drinking water, food safety, wildlife and property,” said state veterinarian Dr. Mike Martin. “Their rooting and wallowing behavior can destroy food crops, pollute waterways and devastate natural areas.”
The pilot program is part of a national effort to combat feral hogs and the billions of dollars in damage they cause each year. Interested participants must complete an application and assessment before receiving a trap. The traps include a remote triggering system that allows an operator to monitor the trap with their smartphone in real time and close the door when the whole group of pigs are inside. Borrowing one of the program’s traps is free, but participants are responsible for baiting and tending the trap, as well as disposing of captured pigs, although they may request assistance to elimination. By state law, feral hogs cannot be released alive from any trap.
“We are working with participating landowners to have these pigs tested for the disease,” Martin said. “We hope to learn a lot about the types and extent of damage they cause here in North Carolina, including diseases they could spread to livestock.”
According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, feral pigs can be found in isolated areas throughout the state.
First released in North Carolina by European explorers, today’s feral pigs are a mix of Eurasian boar and domestic cattle – genetics that allow them to mature quickly and produce multiple litters per year. This poses a huge challenge for landowners trying to remove them one or two at a time; a mature, pregnant sow that escapes capture can produce up to 12 piglets in a litter, and these piglets can reach sexual maturity in as little as three months.
“Because they breed so quickly, protecting the earth from feral hogs isn’t really about how many you can kill, it’s more about how many you miss and have left to multiply,” Falyn said. Owens, representing the Wildlife Commission on the NC Feral Swine. Intervention force. “True success requires removing the entire group of pigs, which is exactly what these traps are designed for.”
Decades of sport hunting have had no impact on reducing feral pig populations. Instead, their presence on the landscape has increased, both through intentional releases and management practices that support them. In North Carolina, transporting pigs without NCDA & CS approved identification is against the law and can result in a fine of $5,000 per animal.
North Carolina feral hog information and trap loaner program applications are available at ncferalswine.org. NC Wildlife Commission officials are asking people to report feral hog sightings, harvests and damage to ncferalswine.org/report-feral-swine. Data collected will be sent to the Feral Hog Working Group and used to develop resources and guide future management efforts.