Feral Hogs: Impact and Regulations
Feral or wild hogs are a prevalent issue in every county in the state, and understanding their impact and associated regulations is crucial:
Impact of Feral Hogs
- Competing with Native Wildlife: Feral hogs directly compete with native wildlife species.
- Plant and Crop Damage: They cause damage to plants and agricultural crops.
- Public and Livestock Health Threat: Feral hogs pose a threat to public and livestock health.
- No Removal Alive: It is illegal to capture a hog from the wild while it is alive.
Transportation Rules: Transporting live swine on public roads or waterways is only allowed if they have an official form of identification approved by the State Veterinarian or with proper documentation, such as a receipt or bill of sale.
- Swine transported without identification are presumed to have been taken from the wild illegally.
- Private Lands: Feral hogs may be trapped year-round on private lands without the need for a license or permit.
- Use of Snares: Cable restraints (snares) are not legal traps for land use; hog traps employing snares are illegal.
- Deer and Bear Release: If deer or bear are caught in hog traps, they must be released immediately.
- Trapping Laws: All trapping laws regarding trap identification, permission to trap, and trap check requirements apply.
- Disease Information: Swine brucellosis is a reproductive tract disease in wild pigs caused by bacteria and can be transmitted to humans.
- Human Symptoms: Human infections result in flu-like symptoms, including fever, headaches, muscle and joint soreness, and weakness. Fatality rate in humans is low, but the disease can be debilitating.
Precautions for Handling Wild Swine: Individuals dressing wild swine should:
- Use disposable rubber gloves and protective eyeglasses.
- Minimize handling of reproductive tracts.
- Dispose of waste parts through burial or burning.
- Clean up with hot water and soap after processing.
- Cook meat thoroughly to 160°F before consumption.
Hunting Feral Hogs, Coyotes, & Armadillos: Regulations and Opportunities
Hunting feral hogs, coyotes, and armadillos in South Carolina offers unique opportunities and regulations:
- Hunting License Required: A hunting license is required for hunting feral hogs, coyotes, and armadillos.
- No Closed Season on Private Land: There is no closed season for hunting these species on private land statewide during daylight hours.
- Use of Bait and Electronic Calls: The use of bait and electronic calls is legal on private lands statewide.
Night Hunting on Registered Properties
- Night Hunting Allowed: Feral hogs, coyotes, and armadillos may be hunted at night on registered properties where a person has a lawful right to hunt.
- Approved Weapons: Legal firearms, bow and arrow, or crossbows can be used for night hunting.
- Additional Aids: Night hunting can involve bait, electronic calls, artificial lights, and night vision devices.
- Registration Required: Properties must be registered online on the SCDNR website, and registration must be done annually.
- Eligibility and Reports: Persons convicted of night hunting for deer, bear, or turkey in the previous five years are ineligible. Property owners must report the number of animals taken under these provisions annually.
Restrictions and Safety Measures
- Residential Area Restrictions: No hunting with firearms at night within 300 yards of a residence without the occupant's permission, unless hunting on one's own land or with a SCDNR depredation permit.
- No Shooting Across Roads: Shooting or attempting to shoot from, on, or across any public paved road is prohibited.
Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)
- Night Hunting on WMAs: Feral hogs, coyotes, and armadillos cannot be hunted at night on WMA lands but can be hunted during the day where allowed.
- Weapon Limitation on WMAs: Weapons used on WMAs for hunting these species are subject to the current open season regulations unless otherwise specified.
- Use of Electronic Calls: The use of electronic calls for feral hog and coyote hunting is permitted statewide on WMA lands.
Dog Hunting and Trapping
- Year-Round Dog Hunting: Dog hunting for feral hogs and coyotes is allowed year-round on private lands statewide.
- Exceptions: Deer may not be hunted with dogs in Game Zones 1 & 2.
- Special Hunt Restrictions: On WMA lands in Game Zones 1 & 2, feral hogs and coyotes may not be hunted with dogs during still gun and muzzleloader hunts for deer or bear.
- Dog Usage: Dogs can be used to hunt and bay hogs at night on private lands if the hunter(s) complies with property registration requirements.
- Hog Hunting with Dogs on WMAs: Dogs can be used on WMA lands to hunt feral hogs only during special hunts with dogs.
Live Coyote Regulations
- Limited Possession and Transport: The possession or transport of live coyotes is allowed only by licensed trappers during the trapping season and thirty days after its close or by special permit from SCDNR.
- Importation Prohibited: Importing coyotes into the state is a violation of both State and Federal law.
Coyote Harvest Incentive Program
- Reward for Reporting Tagged Coyotes: Hunters or trappers reporting a tagged coyote will receive a $3,000 reward starting from July 2023.
- Limitations: A hunter/trapper may collect the reward for reporting up to two coyotes per fiscal year.
- SCDNR Reward Tags: Only SCDNR reward tags are eligible.
- Exclusions: SCDNR employees, members of the General Assembly, and their immediate families are not eligible for the reward.
- Program Continuation: The Coyote Harvest Incentive Program has been ongoing since 2016, with a total of 112 SCDNR-tagged coyotes released at the time of this printing.