Managing Wild Pigs: A Technical Guide
Berryman Institute , 2009

West, B.C., Cooper, A.L., Armstrong, J.B.

Good overview of feral hogs. Since their introduction to North America, wild pigs have become one of the more serious wildlife problems in the United States. Conover (2002) opines that the vast majority of wildlife in North American have many positive values that ultimately outweigh the costs of the problems they may cause and thus provide a net benefit to society. From that perspective, wildlife damage management is the strategy of alleviating problems sometimes caused by wildlife while retaining or enhancing their positive benefits. Conover (2002) further explains, however, that a few wildlife species cause problems that outweigh their positive values and should be considered pests. Although we recognize that wild pigs provide recreational benefits to some hunters and landowners (see Rollins et al. 2007), one could argue that the scope and severity of problems caused by pigs outweigh their benefits in many areas. In these cases, managers may decide that population reduction or eradication is the preferred management objective, and we created this manual to support such efforts. While there is a technical distinction between Eurasian wild boars, feral pigs, and their hybrids, all have similar impacts on ecosystems, native wildlife, agricultural commodities, and other resources. Thus for the sake of practicality we use the term “wild pigs” to refer collectively to feral pigs, Eurasian wild boars, and hybrids. Please not, however, the information herein is not intended for the management of the collared peccary (javelin; Tayassu tajacu), a native inhabitant of the American Southwest, Mexico, and Central and South America. The body of scientific work regarding wild pigs is impressive, particularly in the arenas of natural history, ecology, and environmental impact. Wolf and Conover (2003) and, more recently, Mayer and Shedrow (2007) have compiled excellent bibliographies for individuals wanting an exhaustive review of all the scientific literature pertaining to wild pigs. Despite this abundance of scientific literature, many questions remain about the effective management of wild pigs, and managers must often invent techniques and strategies on the fly. Because we intend this as a technical guide for management, we have included both references to the scientific literature and anecdotal information from the field. Many of the management options we discuss have been largely untested by the rigors of scientific investigations, and we expect researchers to continue testing and refining those and other techniques. In the meantime, we recognize that management is both art and science, and both are equally valid and important to individuals in managing wild pigs.