Search on for wild hogs in Pennsylvania

Are there breeding populations of feral swine in Pennsylvania? It seems no one is quite sure.

Game Commissioner Jay Delaney, of Wilkes Barre, asked Cal DuBrock, director of the commission’s bureau of wildlife management, for a status report on wild hogs at the agency’s April 7-8 meeting in Harrisburg.

DuBrock noted that the Game Commission very recently entered into an agreement with a private contractor to assess the feral hog population in Bedford and Fulton counties. That’s the area in southcentral Pennsylvania where it has been reported that a reproducing feral swine population has existed for more than few years.

USDA wildlife services trapped and killed swine in that area a few years ago until federal funding ran out, but it was never reported whether the initiative destroyed the wild hog population there, or if a reproducing population even existed.

DuBrock pointed out that USDA recently announced that it has again made available funding for states to conduct feral swine control. “Now whether we [the commission] are going to be the benefactor of that remains to be seen,” he said. “But we do need to get a better handle on this, get some better baseline information.”

Part of the problem for the Game Commission is that hunters like having wild hogs to hunt, and guys no longer share information about where they exist to avoid competition.

“We get relatively few reports of feral swine – precious few – yet we know that they are  being taken on a regular basis,” DuBrock said.

Commission biologist Matt Lovallo added that he is aware of a  “seemingly viable population” of wild hogs in northern Bradford County near the New York state line. “But a very active reduction effort by wildlife services on the New York side has resulted in reports being relatively few from that area of the state,” he said.

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