Wisconsin Deer Hunters Urged to Help Eliminate Feral Pigs

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State wildlife officials are encouraging hunters heading out for Wisconsin's traditional nine-day gun deer hunting season to help eliminate a growing problem population of feral pigs by reporting feral pig sightings or shooting them if they encounter them in the field while pursuing other game.

"Free roaming pigs can be found across a wide variety of habitats and are highly destructive because of the rooting they do in search of food," says Brad Koele a Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist. "They're also efficient predators preying on many species including white-tailed deer fawns and ground nesting birds like grouse, woodcock, turkeys, and songbirds."

Feral pigs are known to carry a number of diseases of danger to the domestic swine industry, including swine brucellosis, pseudorabies and leptospirosis; infected feral pigs have not yet been documented in Wisconsin.

Feral pigs have now been found in at least 29 Wisconsin counties. Information on feral pig hunting, including a list of counties where feral pigs have been sighted or killed, is available on the Department of Natural Resources Web site. Maps showing public hunting grounds are also available DNR Managed Lands then Recreational Lands for opportunities to perhaps find wild pigs on public hunting grounds.

Feral pigs are considered unprotected wild animals and may be hunted year-round. The only day they cannot be hunted with a gun is the Friday before the nine-day gun deer hunting season. Also, hunting hours are the same as deer during the nine-day season. During the rest of the year, there are no hunting hour restrictions.

There is no bag limit on feral pigs. Landowners may shoot feral pigs on their own property without a hunting license. Anyone else can shoot a feral pig as long as they possess a valid small game license, sport license, or patron license and have landowner permission if they are on private land.

State officials do ask that anyone shooting a feral pig call a DNR service center or contact a DNR wildlife biologist so that blood and tissue samples can be collected for disease testing in collaboration with USDA and the State veterinarians office.

Feral pig sightings can be reported through the DNR Web site or by calling Brad Koele, Wildlife Damage Specialist at (608) 266-2151.