Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Hogs Gone Wild!

Back in April 2007, the ISW reported that feral hog (Sus scrofa) populations in Pennsylvania were on the rise due to the import and subsequent escape of the animals for the purposes of hunting. Now comes word from the Morning Call that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has responded by officially declaring feral hogs to be "wildlife."

Before this ruling, feral hogs, along with any other animals brought onto hunting reserves, were simply considered to be private property. Now they are subject to the state's Game and Wildlife Code, though the immediate effect of the ruling is not entirely clear. At this point Pennsylvania officials aren't really sure of the extent that the hogs were being imported into the state, since the hunting reserves were not being monitored. Whether regulations will be put in place to limit the import of feral hogs or to prevent their escape into the wild remains to be seen. Also, whereas any escaped hogs in Pennsylvania used to be able to be shot on sight, the new ruling means that the animals are now protected from hunting...until the Game Commission sets up an official hunting season. A draft plan for a feral hog hunting season should be out by the end of January.

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