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NC Feral Hog Hunting Regulation Changes… Make Sure Your Legal!

Hog Hunting is a growing sport that is becoming almost more popular than deer hunting…

… and as you know 704 is getting ready to switch gears to start huntin hogs hard! We were surprised to hear there were some regulation changes made that we weren’t aware of. In North Carolina feral hogs WEREa non-regulated game animal by NCWRC but things took a turn very quickly when the populartiy of hog hunting exploded. We knew there would be changes in the future however we didn’t think it would take place so quickly. It took a few of us by surprise so we wanted to get some info and fast! We contacted the NCWRC and asked a few questions. Here were our questions and their response.

Why did these changes take place and what were there certain instances or incidents that triggered the changes?Why if every other state that is having a feral hog problem is doing everything in their power to control feral hog population, is the NC WRC implementing restrictions on night hunting and trapping of feral hogs?In this statement on your recently published news article states, “Under previous rules, feral swine could be trapped only under a depredation permit, which requires an economic justification, threat to human safety or documented overabundance.” How long has this been in effect? Our confusion on this statement comes from recent conversations with wildlife officers in Raleigh within the past 6 months that have stated feral hogs are non-regulated and are not recognized by the NC WRC as a game animal.Are there restrictions in place or in coming in the near future for hunting feral hogs with the aid of trained hunting dogs?Is the NC WRC more concerned with poaching of other game animals than actually implementing restrictions on feral hogs?

NRWRC Response:
“Prior to October 1, 2011 feral swine in NC were classified geographically based on where they occurred. In the six western counties of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain they were legally defined as wild boar and were regulated by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) as big game animals with specific seasons, bag limits, and reporting requirements. In the remainder of the state, they were simply considered feral swine and were not otherwise specifically defined in any regulatory category under the jurisdiction of NCWRC. Therefore, previous statements that feral swine were not regulated by NCWRC would have been accurate prior to October 1.
In the 2011 legislative session, the NC General Assembly enacted legislation which changed the legal status of feral swine. Effective October 1, 2011, wild boar are no longer recognized in state law and feral swine are now specifically defined and classified as wild animals. Under this new classification, all feral swine in the state are now under the regulatory jurisdiction of NCWRC. As such, the manner of take provisions applicable to all other wild animals now apply.
The NCWRC enacted rule changes effective October 1, 2011 to establish a year round season for hunting feral swine with no bag limits. However, that season is subject to normal shooting hours (30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset). From Oct 1 until very recently, the only legal provision to allow trapping of swine or taking swine at night with the aid of a light was to do so under the provisions of a depredation permit, which by rule requires an economic justification (evidence of property damage in excess of $50), threat to human safety, or documented overabundance.
We recognize that both trapping and night hunting are effective means for reducing feral swine numbers and, pending the development and adoption of permanent rules, we have now taken steps to allow both of these activities. Effective December 29, 2011, anyone wishing to trap feral swine or hunt them at night may do so by obtaining a special NCWRC permit which does not require economic or other justifications associated with depredation permits. These self-issued permits are free of charge and are available from the NCWRC website at
Although there are some conflicts between our state statutes and administrative code that have complicated the issue of taking feral swine, there have certainly been no conscious decisions to make it more difficult to remove these exotic non-native animals from the landscape. To the contrary, our goal is to make that opportunity easier. However, it will take some time to evaluate and implement all of the necessary changes to achieve that goal. Please bear with us as we work our way through that process.

There are no current NCWRC restrictions on the use of dogs for taking feral swine on private lands and I am aware of no discussions regarding the implementation of such restrictions.

I must apologize that I don’t fully understand your question regarding poaching, so I will not attempt to address it other than to say that poaching is an illegal activity with the potential to negatively impact our wildlife resources and, as such, must always be evaluated within the context of any applicable management decision.
In summary, feral hogs may be hunted during normal shooting hours and, with a special permit, they may also be hunted at night and trapped.
I hope these comments are helpful.”

Isaac Harrold
Section Manager
State & Private Lands Programs
Division of Wildlife Management
NC Wildlife Resources Commission
1722 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1722
Phone: (919) 707-0053

We’d like to thank Isaac Harrold and the NCWRC for their quick response! 704 is legal and ready to lower the boom on some porkers!

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