L.W.F.C. Briefed on Feral Hog Population in Louisiana

Release Date: 04/08/2014

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) received an overview report on the feral hog population in Louisiana at the Commission’s April 3 meeting. The overview provided details on agriculture and wildlife habitat impacts, diseases carried by feral hogs and control efforts implemented by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).

LDWF veterinarian Jim LaCour’s presentation provided feral hog facts including:

  • Feral hogs (Sus scrofa) are present in all 64 parishes in Louisiana. Louisiana’s population is estimated at 500,000.
  • Gestation is 114 days and feral sows can have 2 litters per year averaging 6 piglets per litter. Statisticians have determined that 75 percent of the population must be harvested to maintain a static population.
  • Feral hogs are omnivores and can adapt to nearly any environment from desert to marsh to piney woods and hardwoods and can even survive in sub-arctic conditions.
  • Feral hogs impact wildlife by direct competition for hard mast resources and by predation on reptiles, amphibians, ground-nesting bird eggs and mammals including deer fawns.
  • Feral hogs uproot both planted and naturally regenerated coniferous and hardwood seedlings. Additionally, their heavy consumption of hard mast significantly reduces natural forest regeneration.
  • They increase erosion and shed coliform bacteria into waterways. • Feral hogs heavily impact agriculture, uprooting planted seeds, destroying mature crops and uprooting hayfields making hay cutting difficult to impossible.
  • LDWF surveillance testing of over 1,000 feral swine statewide revealed that 3.5 percent were serologically positive to Brucella antigen (Swine Brucellosis).
  • Other diseases found in feral hogs include Pseudorabies, Leptospira, and Trichinosis .
  • Hog control methods now currently used in Louisiana include recreational hunting and trapping by private landowners, daylight and night time shooting and aerial gunning via helicopter.
  • Possible hog control methods being researched including toxicants such as sodium nitrite and genetically-based contraception.

To view the full presentation, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/nuisance-wildlife.

The Commission also heard a presentation by a representative of Vertex Aviation Group of Houston on helicopter gunning operations used in Texas that allow recreational hunters to purchase aerial feral hog hunts now legal in that state. LDWF is currently working with Texas Parks and Wildlife to develop a permitting framework that could provide a similar option for recreational hunters in Louisiana.

For more information: contact Jim LaCour at 225-765-0823 or jlacour@wlf.la.gov; or Bo Boehringer at 225-765-5115 or bboehringer@wlf.la.gov.