South Carolina pays ‘professional hog eradicators’ to hunt feral hogs on National Forest Property.
South Carolina, like many other states, has a feral hog problem. Hog populations have steadily increased causing immense ecological damage. The state’s solution is to hire professional hog eradicators to hunt the hogs. Hunters disagree with this approach. Licensed hunters want the opportunity to hunt the hogs and have asked for a more generous season with less restrictions and regulations.
Carl Morris, the member of a local hunting club said, “It’s only a couple of weekends per year they allow everybody to come to hunt. If hogs are such a problem, why not open it up?”
State and federal officials have received numerous calls from hunters with similar thoughts.
Sam Chappelear, DNR wildlife regional coordinator responded, “We don’t treat hogs as game animals. We want them eradicated. That’s the difference between a hog hunt and a removal, and for both DNR and the Forest Service, recreational hunting for hogs just hasn’t worked well enough.”
In 2012, over 26,000 hogs were killed by hunters in South Carolina which increased to over 35,000 hogs in 2013. This year the three experimental contract professional hog eradicators killed a total of 34 hogs in three weeks.
“There’s no one thing that is going to eliminate hogs. We’re not going to eradicate them. (But) we can at least try to keep them out of sensitive areas,” Chappelear said.
From a hunter’s perspective, Morris wants to know;
How do you stay ahead of (the pig population) when you’re opening up the forest only two weeks per year?