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January 16, 2009

Special early spring hog hunts set in Pee Dee during February, March

In an effort to provide additional hunting opportunity and manage destructive feral hog populations on select state properties, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources has scheduled several hog hunts on Pee Dee lands that have significant swine populations.

Sam Stokes Jr., S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regional wildlife coordinator based in Florence, explained that hog populations continue to cause problems on many DNR properties by destroying wildlife habitat and competing directly with native wildlife species for food.

"Many people do not realize that wild hogs are not supposed to be in North America," Stokes said. "These animals are native to Europe and were introduced onto the American landscape by early European settlers. Because they are invasive exotics, they negatively affect our native plants and wildlife. Their feeding behavior—rooting—is tremendously destructive to native plant communities, and they are capable of completely removing localized native wildlife food sources such as acorns. We also believe that hogs may directly impact native wildlife populations by consuming eggs laid by ground-nesting birds such as turkeys. Feral hogs may even negatively impact reptiles and amphibian populations by preying on lizards, salamanders and snakes."
           
For more information on the special early spring hog hunts, call the DNR regional office in Florence at (843) 661-4768 or send an e-mail to StokesS@dnr.sc.gov.

Stokes hopes that DNR can use the popularity of hog hunting to help manage these populations. "We know that hog hunting is a very popular outdoor activity," Stokes said. "We get calls from people throughout South Carolina and the entire East Coast who are interested in hunting hogs. Hopefully these hunts will increase hunter harvest and reduce the negative effects that hogs are having on our native plants and wildlife."

Special still hog hunts are scheduled on the following Region 2 Wildlife Management Areas.

Legal weapons for these hunts are archery, crossbows, centerfire rifles, muzzle-loading rifles, centerfire handguns and shotguns with slugs only. All Wildlife Management Area (WMA) regulations apply.

Special hog hunts with dogs will also be held. Legal weapons and methods allow handguns only, no more than four bay or catch dogs per party may be used and no live hogs may be removed from any Wildlife Management Area.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.


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