on Jul 13, 2011 12:00 AM • Views 7174
Media Contact: Carolyn Rickard, Public Information Officer

RALEIGH, N.C. (July 13, 2011) – A new law passed by the General Assembly will change the  wild boar classification applied to hogs in the wild in the six most western counties of the state.

Effective Oct. 1, 2011, all hogs in the wild will be classified and managed as feral swine. When hunting feral swine, hunters now must have a valid hunting license and wear hunter orange as required for appropriate seasons.

The new law also prohibits the transport of live hogs unless the animal has a form of identification approved by the state veterinarian, and prohibits the removal of live feral hogs from traps. Those who fail to obtain identification before transporting hogs, as required, are subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for each hog.

House Bill 432 also states that the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission may adopt rules prescribing seasons and the manner of taking wild animals and birds with the use of artificial light and electronic calls. It also states that hunters can take rabbits, squirrels, opossum, raccoons, fur-bearing animals, and nongame animals and birds open to hunting, with a pistol of any size.

The new law was enacted in part to address the proliferation of feral swine across the landscape of North Carolina. Feral swine are not native to North Carolina, and pose threats to commercial hog farming operations and native wildlife through disease transmission and habitat destruction.

One such disease is brucellosis, which can infect people if they come in contact, through their eyes, nose, mouth or a skin cut, with infected blood, fluid or tissues from an infected wild hog. People also can become sick after eating improperly cooked meat.

Currently, surveillance testing for brucellosis in feral swine in North Carolina is quite limited. However, in areas where surveillance has occurred, rates of brucellosis have been increasing for the past three years.

For more information on brucellosis, download the brochure, “Wild Hog Hunting” Staying Healthy on Your Hunt.” To learn more about other swine diseases, download “Feral/Wild Pigs: Potential Problems for Farmers and Hunters.”

A free, pre-paid mailer for submitting feral swine samples to the state diagnostic lab for swine brucellosis testing is available by calling the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Veterinary Division, at 919-733-7601.