Feral Swine in Georgia

Feral swine have become increasingly detrimental in Georgia, causing significant damage to agricultural crops and natural resources throughout the state. The economic impact of damage caused by feral swine in Georgia last year is estimated at $150 million. Feral swine are reported to live in all of Georgia’s 159 counties, likely only trailing the massive feral swine populations in Texas and Florida. Feral swine are one of the greatest invasive species challenges facing Georgia. 

GACD, in partnership with local conservation districts across Georgia and other agencies, is leading multiple efforts to address this growing problem and the detrimental impacts to Georgia's environmental and agricultural landscape. The efforts include Outreach and Education, and the Feral Swine District Initiative.

Crop damage from feral swine (photo by Tyler Campbell, USDA)

Crop damage from feral swine (photo by Tyler Campbell, USDA)

 

Outreach and Education

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GACD has coordinated a group of agricultural and natural resource organizations in a partnership effort to bring Georgia’s top experts on feral swine together in a series of educational workshops for farmers and landowners across Georgia.

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Topics include disease issues, swine biology, economics, water quality issues, effective control techniques, transport issues, and regulations to be followed by a question and answer panel of experts. Each workshop also includes a feral swine trapping demonstration, led by USDA Wildlife Services.

Partnering agencies for this effort include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), USDA Wildlife Services, Georgia Association of Conservation Districts, Georgia Department of Natural Resources - Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia Department of Agriculture, University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, and Georgia Farm Bureau.


feral swine district Initiative

In 2017, the Brier Creek Conservation District initiated a feral swine control program within their district to assist producers and landowners who are experiencing significant damage. The methodology for this program was one the district felt could work with the limited resources that are typically available to Conservation Districts.  The district's strategy was to equip a local Hog Control Custodian (HCC) with automated trapping and thermal equipment free of charge and enable him to seek compensation from landowners and producers to eradicate feral hogs in the district.  Finding a competent and dedicated HCC to become custodian of the equipment and to manage trapping and/or any thermal night shooting operations requested by local producers and landowners is the key to achieving success with this program.  Brier Creek currently does not charge the HCC or landowners a fee for use of the feral hog control equipment.

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 The HCC and landowners needing assistance are free to negotiate an agreed upon compensation for trapping services and/or shooting hogs at night with thermal equipment. This program has been very successful with a single HCC in Jenkins County removing 403 feral hogs from the landscape in 2017.  Landowners and producers in Jenkins County report that this program has made a tremendous difference in reducing feral hog damage. Farmers who have been forced to make a decision not to plant peanuts, corn, or soybeans in some of their best soils due to feral hog damage are now considering planting these crops.  In 2018, Brier Creek has added a second HCC in their district and in the first 3.5 months of 2018 these two HCC's have removed 378 feral hogs from the landscape. 

GACD considers the demonstrated success from the "Feral Swine District Initiative" as a model, and efforts are underway to expand this capability to the other Conservation Districts across Georgia.  Additional funding sources are being explored to continue expanding the "Feral Swine District Initiative" across Georgia.


Additional Resources

 

University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources
Georgia Wild Pigs
The information presented here is intended to educate farmers, landowners, hunters, and the general public on the biology and natural history of wild pigs, the issues caused by wild pigs, and to provide management techniques to control populations and mitigate the ongoing problems caused by wild pigs. At the forefront of our website we want to state that complete eradication of the wild pig in Georgia is improbable. The best that we can hope for is population reduction and control of this species.

 

Georgia Department of Natural Resources - Wildlife Resources Division
Feral Hog Management