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Feral Hogs in Arkansas

Do you have feral hogs?  Do you know how to recognize feral hog signs?  Do you know about the health hazards feral hogs present to you and possibly your pets and livestock?  Though feral hogs have been in Arkansas for centuries, in the last 20 years feral hogs have become a major invasive pest in our forests and fields. They cost Arkansas' producers millions of dollars each year by damaging forests and crops, and polluting our streams and ponds.  Arkansas currently has regulations governing the transportation and release of feral hogs.

Six hogs some black some brown eating corn at a feeder

What is a feral hog?

  • Feral hogs, feral swine, wild swine, wild pigs, wild hogs, Eurasian boars, Russian boars, wild boars - are all the same species, Sus scrofa.
  • These are the same animals that farmers raise and what we take home from the grocery store.
  • According to Arkansas law, a domestic, pen-raised hog that escapes is considered feral after 5 days, but if the owner notifies neighbors of its escape, it is considered feral after 15 days.

 Image: Skip Armes, University of Arkansas

Learn more about laws and regulations governing feral hogs.

Spotted sow staring at camera with piglet in background

What does a feral hog look like?

  • Feral hogs can be of any color found in domestic hog breeds, including pink, dark brown, spotted, black with a white collar, as well as coarse black hair with bristles along the back.
  • Domestic hogs released into the wild within a few months will grow a longer, shaggier coat.
  • After a couple generations, their fur becomes darker and longer with a grizzled appearance and an elongated snout with tusks, and young piglets are born with stripes.

Image: Clint Turnage, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services

Learn more about how to recognize feral hogs.

Map of Arkansas with shades of blue in each county

Where are feral hogs found in Arkansas?

  • Feral hogs are in every county in Arkansas, though local population densities vary.
  • Feral hogs have lived in the bottomlands of south central Arkansas for decades, if not centuries.
  • They typically live in secluded areas in thickets near creeks, streams, and rivers, though some venture into urban areas.
  • Feral hogs range over several miles if necessary in search of food and water.
  • Boars range even farther in search of mates.

Find out what parts of Arkansas are infested with feral hogs.

Four piglets with barely visible stripes

How are feral hogs spread?

  • Feral hogs are prolific breeders with females producing 3-8 or more piglets, starting at 6-10 months of age.
  • Population growth patterns in Arkansas and other states since the 1990's suggests feral hogs have not dispersed naturally. Indirect evidence suggests hunters released hogs presumably to increase sport hunting opportunities.
  • In Arkansas, currently it is illegal to transport, possess, sell, offer for sale, purchase, receive, import, or distribute a live feral hog.

 Image: Vladimir Dinets, University of Miami, Bugwood.org

Learn how to stop the spread of feral hogs.

Rooted pasture with shed in background

How do feral hogs affect you & the environment?

  • Their rooting causes loss of crops and pasture lands which affects agriculture production where our food comes from.
  • Their wallowing and rooting in or near waterways causes pollution and sedimentation, which contaminates the water we drink and swim.
  • They compete with native wildlife for food including acorns, roots, tubers, and soil invertebrates such as earthworms.
  • Feral hogs are opportunistic feeders which means they eat eggs of ground nesting birds, salamanders, frogs, toads, snakes, and even an occasional deer fawn.

 Image: Craig Hicks, bugwood.org

Learn more about the environmental impact of feral hogs.

Learn more about Brucellosis carried by feral hogs.

Learn about additional diseases carried by feral hogs.

Man installing trail camera in tree

How do I know if I've got feral hogs?

  • Typically their extensive rooting which "plows up" the soil is the first clue you've got feral hogs.  They can root up a pasture or yard overnight!
  • Other signs include tracks, scat, and rub marks or tusking of trees.
  • Feral hogs go nocturnal when disturbed by human activity.
  • A game camera is an effective tool for determining if you have feral hogs and how many.

 Image: Becky McPeake, University of Arkansas

Learn how to recognize feral hog damage.

Feral hogs inside and outside a trap

What can be done about feral hogs?

  • USDA APHIS Wildlife Services and the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission recommend corral trapping groups of feral hogs using specific equipment and methods.
  • Typically shooting one or two feral hogs does little for population control and only serves to educate the survivors which become more difficult to find again.
  • Hunting with hog dogs may be effective for removing individual hogs which are trap-shy and difficult to capture otherwise.

Image: Jennifer Caraway, University of Arkansas

Learn how to control feral hogs on your land.