UACES Facebook Feral Hog Control in Arkansas | How to control feral hogs
WOOO PIG SOOIE™ - Like domesticated swine, feral hogs display a variety of coat colors as this Arkansas feral sow with piglets. (Image courtesy Clint Turnage, USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services.)

Controlling Feral Hogs in Arkansas

Feral Hog Control Field Day (tentative)
Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 1:00pm - 2:30pm,
Southwest Research and Extension Center, Hope, Arkansas.  

Register to attend this FREE event by calling KeriJo Halpine, 501-671-2329, or signing up online (hosted by Eventbrite®).

Where are feral hogs in Arkansas?

Feral hogs (Sus scrofa) are prevalent in many portions of the southeastern United States and Arkansas. Feral hogs are domesticated swine released accidentally or purposefully for sport hunting. After a generation or two, progeny of a domesticated hog appear untamed, with thickened fur and tusks. Sows produce litters (average six piglets) starting at six months of age and have few predators after reaching maturity.

Their feeding and wallowing behaviors create a number of problems, including agriculture crop loss, pasture damage, wildlife habitat loss, water pollution (e.g., sedimentation, transmission of E. coli), and disease transmission to livestock and in rare cases, people. Non-native feral hogs compete directly with native wildlife species for limited food supplies, disturb habitat, and consume small mammals and reptiles, the young of larger mammals (e.g., fawns), and eggs and young of ground-nesting birds (e.g., bobwhites, wild turkey).

See a video clip of a pasture rooted up by feral hogs

Although small herds of feral hogs have lived in Arkansas for generations, the feral hog population in the state has increased and expanded dramatically in recent years.  Many believe this expansion into previously uninhabited areas is from hog releases by sport hunters. The National Feral Swine Mapping System is updated monthly using data collected from state wildlife agencies and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services.  These maps illustrate the dramatic expansion of feral hogs throughout North America.

Controlling the prolific feral hog has proven difficult. Feral hogs are very adaptive and learn to avoid hunters and traps. Hogs are very mobile, and will range for miles in search of food or mates. Most feral hogs are nocturnal, and therefore unseen. Signs of feral hogs are rooting, tracks, wallows, nests or beds, tree and post rubs.

Watch a video clip of a feral hog wallowing

Control options for feral hogs

  • Shooting one or two feral hogs does little to control their numbers, and typically "educates" others in the group to avoid humans. If implementing a trapping program, do not shoot and disburse hogs away from your trapping area.
  • Corral trapping, in which multiple hogs are captured at one time, can be very effective, although trapping requires a significant investment in equipment and commitment. Single traps capturing only one or two hogs "educate" non-trapped hogs and do little to lower the population. Trap-shy hogs soon reproduce and problems return. Single or small group traps which do not capture the entire sounder are not recommended.
  • Snaring can be used to supplement corral trapping.  Snares can be placed around corral fences and along trails.  Beware that snares can capture non-target wildlife and require frequent checks.  
  • Some professionals recommend hunting with dogs, which can be effective if hunters are trusted to kill all captured hogs and not release some for additional sport.
TRAPPED - Feral hogs captured in a corral trap.  (Image courtesy Billy Higgenbotham, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, bugwood.org.) 

None of these control methods has proven 100% effective. Using several strategies, such as corral trapping followed by shooting and dog-hunting stragglers, may increase chances of success.

What are the laws in Arkansas regarding feral hogs?

  • It is legal to shoot or trap feral hogs, day or night, on privately-owned land.
  • Feral hogs must be killed immediately upon capture.
  • It is illegal to release hogs into the wild or transport them other than to a terminal facility approved by the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.

For information about legal aspects of hunting and trapping feral hogs, contact the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission or USDA Wildlife Services at 870-673-1121. 

For rules about transporting hogs, contact the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission

Successfully capturing feral hogs requires a strategy.

A common mistake is setting the trap where feral hogs are not present. Trail (game) cameras are important tools for determining trap placement. A camera will also indicate how many hogs are in the group or sounder, and of what size. This helps determine where to set the trap, the number of fence panels needed, and its strength. Fence panels with 4-inch squares or smaller are recommended for capturing smaller piglets. The next step is "training" feral hogs with bait to return regularly to the potential trap site. Once the trap is constructed, all feral hogs in the group should be observed quickly entering the trap on camera before the trigger is set. Removing the whole sounder is recommended to avoid educating uncaught hogs.  Additional details are available from resources below.   

Click here for a video clip demonstrating the use of camera surveillance to detect hogs and observe behaviors

Workshops are held periodically about feral hog control.  For more information about feral hogs or upcoming workshops, contact your local county Extension office.

Arkansas Publications and Websites