California state senator wants to make it easier for hunters to kill wild pigs


California has a big pork problem. Feral hogs can now be found in 56 of the state’s 58 counties, where they wreak havoc on native plant communities and ecosystems, destroy crops and private property, and spread disease. They are one of the most destructive invasive species in the state, causing an estimated $1.5 billion in damage to California agriculture, natural resources and personal property on an annual basis. They are also prolific breeders, which makes controlling their population extremely difficult.

All of this helps explain why at least one state legislator wants to make it easier for hunters and landowners to kill feral hogs. California Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced legislation Jan. 19 to help control the state’s rapidly growing feral pig population. The bill has already garnered broad support from wildlife officials, farmers and hunters in the state.

“Wild pigs are an invasive species and the cause of significant damage in our state to the environment, private property, agriculture and other wildlife,” said California Fish member Eric Sklar. and Game Commission, in a statement. Press release. “We must do everything we can to stop them, and I applaud Senator Dodd’s efforts to resolve this issue.”

Senate Bill 856 would lift remaining hunting restrictions and abolish the state permit system for feral hogs. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife already allows wild hog hunting year-round with no bag limit, but the agency currently requires recreational hunters to purchase a wild hog tag and send the completed tag to the CDFW. for every pig they harvest. . The state also requires landowners to apply for a depredation permit if they wish to remove multiple hogs from their land.

Dodd’s proposal would eliminate the need for depredation permits and replace wild hog tags with annual “wild hog validation.” This validation would cost $15 for resident hunters (or $50 for non-residents) and would allow hunters to harvest as many wild pigs as they wish during the license year. The bill would also “prohibit a person from intentionally or knowingly releasing any pig, boar, pig or pig to live wild or wild on public or private land.”

This last provision is significant because the introduction of European wild boar by a wealthy Monterey County landowner in the 1920s is precisely what led to the state’s swine problems today. According to CDFWthese European boars eventually bred with the state’s established feral pig population, resulting in the “feral boar/domestic pig hybrids” that have the fertility of domestic pigs coupled with intelligence, tenacity, and boar size.

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And since these feral sows can produce two litters of five to six piglets per year, the state agency says, “[this] the wild pig population has the potential to triple each year. This makes it almost impossible for sport hunters in the state to fix the problem on their own – and that’s why Dodd and supporters of the legislation want to make it easier for hunters and private landowners to kill as many hogs as possible.

“Twenty percent of the number of feral pigs are killed each year, but that is offset by the number of new pig births that occur,” Dodd explained to CBS-Sacramento earlier this week. “So we’re not even making a dent in the issue. Ultimately, what we need to do is make it easier to take more.


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