North Carolina Wild Boars/Feral Swine
In the early 1900’s, wild boar were introduced from Europe to a private game reserve in Graham County, North Carolina. Some animals escaped and thrived, spreading to other mountain counties and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The wild boar persisted in western North Carolina and some interbreeding with domestic swine occurred due to free-range farm practices, releases, or escaped domestic stock. In1979 the wild boar was given the status of game animal by the N.C.Legislature. Wild swine have appeared in other areas of the state due to free-range farm practices and intentional stocking by private individuals. Populations of free-ranging feral swine continue to grow and spread in North Carolina.
Feral swine can significantly impact plant communities and wildlife habitat because they root through the ground’s surface in search of food. Feral swine destroy agricultural crops and other property and pose a substantial disease risk for both domestic swine and wildlife. Due to these factors and the invasive nature of feral swine, they are considered to be an undesirable species on North Carolina’s landscape.
“Wild boar”, “feral hogs”, feral swine, and domestic swine are all the same species (Sus scrofa). In 2011 the status of all free ranging swine (including “wild boar” in the historic counties) was changed from a game animal to a nongame animal with no closed hunting season. Thus the recognition of wild boar as a big game animal ended. NCWRC biologists no longer tract the harvest of these animals thorough the big game harvest reporting system. The harvest of feral swine is monitored through our annual hunter harvest survey that provides biologists with an annual estimate of harvest.
In counties of North Carolina where “wild boar” historically existed, many people still hunt the feral swine using traditional methods like hunting with hounds. However, across NC people hunt using various methods and at all times of the year. As the range and destructive nature of feral swine has expanded,management efforts have changed from managing a game species to attempting to contain and control the spread of a destructive species across the landscape.
Historic records of harvest (prior to 2011) can be found at “Harvest Reports as of 2010” tab.
Annual harvest estimates after 2010 can be found at “Survey Results” tab.