8 States with the Largest Wild Hogs

Wild hogs are wreaking havoc in the US, causing $2.5 billion in damages yearly. States like Texas, Florida, and Georgia are hardest hit, prompting hunting and trapping as control measures.

what state has the largest wild hogs

The US is facing an escalating wild hog crisis. These invasive creatures, also called feral swine or wild boar, are damaging the environment and agriculture across several states. Capable of reaching 400 pounds and speeds of 30 mph, they pose a threat to both crops and safety. This blog post examines the top eight states hardest hit by the issue.

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1. Alabama

The wild boars look for food in the bushes

While Alabama may not have the highest wild hog population, it certainly has its fair share of the problem. These invasive animals can be found in all 67 counties of the state, causing widespread environmental and agricultural damage. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources actively encourages hunting and trapping as a form of population control.

2. Texas

Herd of wild boars looking for a food. Piglets or boarlets, young baby boars and adult big wild swine or pig, Sus scrofa family.

When it comes to states with the most wild pigs, Texas is at the top of the list. With an estimated population of 2.5–2.6 million feral pigs spread across 253 of its 254 counties, the Lone Star State is grappling with a significant wild hog problem. These creatures cause an estimated $50 million in agriculture damage yearly, posing a serious challenge to farmers and ranchers in the state.

3. Florida

A wild boar tromping through a wetland in Florida.

With a tropical climate that serves as an ideal breeding ground for these creatures, Florida ranks third in the nation for the most wild hog sightings. According to data from the University of Georgia Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health, Florida had over 1,200 wild hog reports in one year alone. The state has implemented various measures, including hunting and trapping, to manage the hog population.

4. Georgia

A domestic pig grazes freely on the lawn near a house in Ushguli village in Svaneti in the mountainous part of Georgia

Georgia is another state grappling with a significant wild hog problem. With over 1,377 feral hog sightings recorded in one year, Georgia is among the top four states most impacted by this invasive species. These animals thrive in Georgia’s diverse habitats, causing widespread environmental damage and affecting the state’s agriculture industry.

5. California

A feral California Hog in it's wallow.

While California may not be the first state that comes to mind when discussing wild hogs, it too faces a significant issue. Wild hogs have been sighted in several parts of the state, with a concentration in rural and agricultural areas. The state’s diverse climates and landscapes offer ideal conditions for these invasive creatures to thrive.

6. Hawaii

Wild mother boar and piglet in the rain on Maui Island Hawaii

The island paradise of Hawaii is not immune to the wild hog problem. Its lush forests and fertile lands make it an attractive habitat for these destructive creatures. Feral hogs pose a serious threat to the native flora and fauna of the islands, disrupting delicate ecosystems and causing major agricultural losses.

7. Michigan

Although Michigan might seem an unlikely place for wild hogs, the state has seen an uptick in sightings over recent years. These invasive pigs are particularly drawn to the state’s agricultural areas, where they cause significant crop damage. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has implemented measures to control the wild hog population, but the problem persists.

As Mid-Michigan now explains in the video –

  1. Wild pigs are invading parts of Michigan, with an estimated 2 dozen on Marion Springs land used for hunting. They dig holes, knock down trees and corn.
  2. Wild pigs scare away deer, threatening Michigan’s whitetail hunting industry that brings millions in revenue.
  3. Wild pigs breed rapidly, having 4-6 piglets twice a year. They’ve been seen in 75 of 83 Michigan counties.
  4. Wild pigs carry diseases like pseudorabies, tuberculosis and anthrax. The DNR wants to control them before the problem worsens.
  5. The DNR is encouraging hunters to shoot wild pigs on sight. Landowners can also shoot them without a license.
  6. In April 2022, the DNR began inspecting private game ranches and killing wild pigs. Ranchers argue the pigs are fenced in securely.
  7. Ranchers and farmers argue the DNR shouldn’t interfere with private property and call the wild pig definition confusing.
  8. Five lawsuits were filed against the DNR, but a judge recently ruled in favor of the state, upholding the definition.
  9. Wild pigs are now defined as an invasive species in Michigan, allowing the DNR to kill them on public or private land.
  10. The issue will likely go back to court, but for now the DNR has broad license to control and reduce the wild hog population.
Mid-Michigan now

8. Pennsylvania

From the forest to the road, a wild boar ran out

Finally, Pennsylvania rounds out our list of states most affected by the wild hog problem. While the state’s wild hog population may not be as large as in other states mentioned, the presence of these destructive creatures has led to considerable agricultural and environmental damage. Efforts are underway to control the spread of wild hogs in Pennsylvania.

The Spread of Feral Hogs

The proliferation of feral hogs across the United States is due to their remarkable adaptability, flourishing in varied climates from Florida’s tropics to Michigan’s colder regions. Their swift reproductive rate compounds the issue, as sows average five piglets per litter and may deliver biannually, precipitating a rapid population surge.

In recent decades, the range of feral pigs in the United States has increased significantly, from a presence in just 20 states four decades ago to 36 states today. This expansion is most noticeable in southern states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia, but other states like California, Hawaii, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have also reported rising numbers of wild hogs.

The Destructive Nature of Wild Hogs

The impact of wild hogs on the environment and agriculture is significant. They root and trample farm and forest lands, eat crops, and transmit diseases and parasites. In addition to causing an estimated $2.5 billion in damages each year, their destructive behaviors also lead to soil erosion, water quality degradation, and the decline of native plant and animal species.

To address the wild hog issue, numerous approaches are utilized nationwide. Hunting is common for control but can displace hogs instead of decreasing their population. More effective, fencing and trapping demand considerable maintenance. Research into drug-based controls continues, yet no hog poisons are approved in the U.S.

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