If you've ever tried to catch a pig more than a few days after it escaped, you know how quickly they can go "feral" or wild. That's one reason feral pigs and wild boars are a growing problem in many states – even in the Mid-Atlantic.
Such critters are destructive to native wildlife species and habitats, and pose health risks to domestic swine herds. They're prolific breeders and can quickly establish wild populations once escaped.
That's why they've been under Pennsylvania Game Commission hunting regulations.
Last week, Gov. Tom Corbett on Monday signed into law state Senate Bill No. 644, amending the definition of "wild animals" to remove any species of swine held in captivity. The change placed the authority to manage captive Pennsylvania swine solely with the Department of Agriculture. The Game Commission continues to hold authority for feral swine that escape to the wild.
Game Commission aimed for 'total kill'
Early this year, Pennsylvania's Board of Game Commissioners had proposed removal of all protection for feral swine and wild boars. It also proposed a ban on importing wild boars and feral swine. Then, a year later, it would be illegal to possess the animals.
With passage of the new law, the board tabled further rulemaking to review the issue. Meanwhile, hunters can still take any feral swine and wild boar encountered in the wild.
Feral swine can be taken with any lawful firearm, bow, crossbow or by trapping. All such takings must be reported to Game Commission regional offices within 24 hours of the kill. Carcasses must be made available to the commission for disease sampling.