Controlling the population of wild hogs in SC

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Wild Hogs are wreaking havoc across the Lowcountry, and they show no signs of stopping.

In just one night, a group of hogs looking for something to eat can destroy an entire field of crops.

This is the reality for Kenneth Cordray, whose hundreds of acres in Ravenel are plagued by wild hogs; two pigs decimated a two-acre plot of corn in just a few hours.

Cordray says over the years, the hogs have caused upwards of $10,000 in damages to his family’s property.

In 2017, he set up trail cameras and a trap, catching 50 hogs that year. “Every year there are a few more,” Cordray said, culminating in a total of 430 hogs caught so far.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says that Cordray is not alone. DNR says that “controlling pigs is definitely easier said than done.”

Hogs are smart, according to Will Carlisle, a wildlife biologist with DNR. He says that “they are elusive” and “find refuge in some of the thickest habitats, where they’re not easily hunted.”

Another factor impeding population control is the rate at which hogs reproduce. According to Carlisle, “you miss one sow, and the next thing you know, in six months or a year the population is right back where it started.”

There are around 150,000 wild hogs in the state and they cause a laundry list of problems.

Their rooting kills native plants, they increase soil erosion, and they decrease water quality.

They also eat ANYTHING and EVERYTHING — including the eggs of native species like turkey and quail — disrupting the ecosystem and animal communities.

South Carolina suffers an estimated $115 million in damages by wild hogs every year.

DNR has established a Wild Hog Task Force in SC with the goal of coordinating educational, research, and management efforts to reduce problems associated with wild hogs.

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