Can Whitetail Managers Take Back Feral Pig Country?

BY Herschel Smith
9 months, 1 week ago

Outdoor Life.

America’s hunters and wildlife managers are well into the feral hog war. More than 6 million wild pigs roam the country, gobbling down native flora and outcompeting native fauna. They’re also hell on agricultural crops. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hogs cause $1.5 billion of damage annually.

Researchers think that number may be closer to $2.5 billion now, but more research needs to be done to determine an accurate figure,” says Ben Westfall, the National Deer Association’s conservation coordinator.

There are massive efforts by government agencies and private landowners to cull feral hogs and stop their spread. Whitetail deer managers are at the tip of the spear, because pigs can also have a negative impact on deer.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot of formal, university-led research on how pigs impact whitetails.

There doesn’t need to be university-led research.  Those are the same pointy head idiots who recommend against hunting to cull the hog population (but recommend government sponsored “sharp shooters”).

I can tell you what happens.  They compete for the same sorts of food and bedding areas.  If the feral hogs come in, the deer leave.  It’s that simple.  The deer won’t fight the hogs.  But I think the article does get to that.

When hogs first appear on the scene, whitetails tend to avoid them, meaning they settle for lower quality bedding areas and food sources. This is even truer for mature bucks, which seem to have less tolerance for hogs than younger bucks, does, and fawns do.

However, in areas where hogs have been present for years, deer seem to get used to them.

Well, that last part is only sort of true.  They are still displaced and still compete for the same food and bedding, they do learn to live in the same geographical area, but if you want to deer hunt in an area heavily populated by hogs, you’re best bet is to move on.

“Based on my observations, deer do adapt to hogs if they’ve been present a long time,” says, Dr. Grant Woods, a renowned deer biologist and founder of Growing Deer TV. “I see deer in South Florida ignoring hogs unless they get within 30 yards or so. I’m sure where hogs are new neighbors, deer give hogs more space. There’s certainly more food for deer if hogs are removed, and I suspect they’d be a bit calmer.”

Still, whitetails can be forced to move out of areas if hogs over-browse habitat and dominate resources. The higher the hog densities, the worse this problem gets.

That’s what I just said.

“It’s more about the food sources in the area,” he says. “If the hogs eat all the food, the deer will move to a new food source and return once the food source is available.”

The good news is that when hogs are removed (or severely culled) from the landscape, deer seem to bounce back. Anecdotes from the field are somewhat mixed but they are mostly promising. According to most deer managers I spoke with, whitetails generally return soon after hogs are removed. This can take longer in areas where the habitat is seriously degraded, but under average conditions, whitetails often return rather quickly. This is especially true in areas that offer adequate bedding areas, along with food, water, and security cover.

Once feral pigs become established, landowners can remove most of the hogs from their property. However, management is often very costly, and if neighboring landowners aren’t applying equal or greater management efforts, hog populations will continue to grow.

That’s why feral hogs can’t be eradicated.  Culling the population on a 100 acre plot of land (whether by hunting or trapping, or both) does no good if the neighboring farms don’t do exactly the same thing, and as I’ve pointed out before, that’s very, very, very expensive.

Feral pig managers have a mighty steep hill to climb. Typical hunting tactics have proven to be mostly useless as management tools. Sure, hog hunting is fun. And it might remove a porker or two from the property. But on a landscape population level, it doesn’t accomplish much, and it can make pigs even warier. Even when running dogs, hunting doesn’t remove enough hogs to decrease overall population densities.

Furthermore, fertility control isn’t in heavy use yet. The heavily debated toxicant called Warfarin isn’t permitted in any state, and there’s a chance it won’t ever be.

Good Lord.  There’s that awful, horrible idea floated again of putting a toxicant into the environment.  For heaven’s sake, don’t do that.  We have enough toxicants in the environment already.  Besides, the unintended consequences of such a introduction could be terrible.

Generally speaking, it’s easier to trap pigs when food is scarce in the winter and early spring. This is when bait is most effective. It’s also best to trap when the most sows are pregnant. (This is easier than trying to trap sows and their piglets together.) Capturing the entire sounder is the goal—from the biggest sows down to the smallest members of the group. Of course, hogs like to stay closer to water, so bottomlands, marshes, swamps, and other lowland areas are all good locations to try.

As I’ve said, sounders don’t stick together in proximity the way this tactic makes is seem.

“The best thing the average land manager can do is cooperate with their state wildlife agency and familiarize themselves with the management efforts taking place as well as various programs that may be available to them,” Westfall said. “Many states have hog specific or cost-share programs in which they will work with landowners to help control the problem. It is our responsibility as landowners, managers, and hunters to know what our state wildlife agency is doing, understand that their efforts and methods are based on scientific research, and do our best to assist with their efforts in any way that we can.”

The best thing land managers can do is kill as many hogs as possible as quickly as possible, whenever and wherever they can.  This means trapping, hunting, night vision, game cameras, research, communication, and all the things they already know about.  I would find it hard to believe that land managers in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and other states, don’t already know all about the problems.  I’m sure they’ve been engaged in this war for years now.  If they haven’t, they need other land managers.


Comments

  1. On May 22, 2023 at 12:59 am, Aaron Yetter said:

    Another problem is so many are making money offering hunts. So there will always be a feral hog problem.

  2. On May 22, 2023 at 6:24 am, jrg said:

    The lack of large animal predators (non human) that can efficiently kill feral hog also is a factor.

    Traps and poison bait are possible solutions, but traps require daily human presence, while poison is non discriminatory.

  3. On May 22, 2023 at 12:39 pm, Latigo Morgan said:

    What Aaron said above. Lots of farmers and ranchers complaining about hogs will only allow them to be hunted on their land if the hunters pay a bunch of money to do so.

    When the hogs become such a problem that government steps in and mandates eradication in spite of private property boundaries, it will be too late.

  4. On May 24, 2023 at 5:48 am, jrg said:

    If you are friends with a rancher / farmer with feral hog problems, offering your help and some other friends to help them out with the problem is worth asking about. Many landowners would accept any help given to remove feral hog from their property. Worst that could happen is a refusal, no harm or foul.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment


You are currently reading "Can Whitetail Managers Take Back Feral Pig Country?", entry #35001 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Animals and was published May 21st, 2023 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (704)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (40)
Air Power (10)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (22)
Ammunition (275)
Animals (279)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
Antonin Scalia (1)
AR-15s (371)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (86)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (28)
Australian Army (7)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (2)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (217)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (18)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (3)
Blogs (24)
Body Armor (23)
Books (3)
Border War (18)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (38)
British Army (35)
Camping (5)
Canada (17)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
CENTCOM (7)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (16)
Christmas (16)
CIA (30)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (3)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (218)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (209)
Department of Homeland Security (26)
Disaster Preparedness (5)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (15)
Donald Trump (27)
Drone Campaign (4)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
El Salvador (1)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (2)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (39)
Featured (189)
Federal Firearms Laws (18)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (1,756)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (15)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (44)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (9)
Georgia (19)
GITMO (2)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (1,623)
Guns (2,296)
Guns In National Parks (3)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
HAMAS (7)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (8)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (16)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (3)
Horses (2)
Humor (72)
Hunting (30)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (104)
India (10)
Infantry (4)
Information Warfare (4)
Infrastructure (4)
Intelligence (23)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (171)
Iraq (379)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (64)
Islamists (98)
Israel (19)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (3)
Jihadists (81)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (9)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (7)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (6)
Lawfare (14)
Leadership (6)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (2)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (14)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (8)
Logistics (50)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (280)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
MEDEVAC (2)
Media (67)
Medical (146)
Memorial Day (6)
Mexican Cartels (41)
Mexico (61)
Michael Yon (6)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (5)
Military Equipment (25)
Militia (9)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (25)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (25)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (94)
NATO (15)
Navy (30)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (3)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (3)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (62)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (221)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (7)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (72)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Pistol (4)
Pizzagate (21)
Police (647)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (968)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (491)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Rifles (1)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (75)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (37)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (658)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (28)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (23)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Supreme Court (52)
Survival (185)
SWAT Raids (57)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (38)
Tactical Gear (14)
Taliban (168)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (21)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (96)
Thanksgiving (13)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (24)
TSA Ineptitude (13)
TTPs (4)
U.S. Border Patrol (6)
U.S. Border Security (18)
U.S. Sovereignty (23)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (10)
Uncategorized (98)
Universal Background Check (3)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (3)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (412)
War & Warfare (41)
War Movies (4)
War Reporting (21)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (6)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (79)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (21)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

February 2024
January 2024
December 2023
November 2023
October 2023
September 2023
August 2023
July 2023
June 2023
May 2023
April 2023
March 2023
February 2023
January 2023
December 2022
November 2022
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2024 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.