NY Feral Pigs: A problem caused, not solved, by hunters

USDA map linking NY feral hog populations to hunting preserves, game farms

USDA map linking NY feral hog populations to hunting preserves, game farms

Feral hogs aren’t just for the south anymore; New York state is now officially worried about wild boar, too. I used to think that wild boar were a good example of an ecosystem problem hunters could help solve. Turns out, they’re the ones causing it by releasing hogs to shoot them for fun.

A feral pig family / NY DEC



Feral pigs or wild hogs can come from many sources: abandoned pets, escaped livestock or even pigs from Europe released long ago. But, wildlife biologists around the country blame the upsurge in the last two decades on releases by hunters. Hunters might release or relocate them on purpose to hunt or the razorbacks may be escapees from canned hunting operations.

New York now has hogs, mainly in three counties (Tioga, Cortland and Onondaga) that border yahoo hunting state Pennsylvania. The USDA report says “Intentional releases of swine by hunters interested in pursuing them in New York, escape of swine from shooting preserves, and breeding facilities are factors that need to be considered if the eradication efforts in the state were to be successful.” The report says New York boars probably cross the border from Pennsylvania, which has confirmed wild hog populations and a particular canned hunt operation.

Coincidentally, there is a shooting preserve with feral swine located in Pennsylvania that shares a property boundary with the New York border. The New York properties that we trapped and that reported feral swine damage are also adjacent to the state border. Shooting preserves can be a source of feral swine populations that threaten natural resources, agriculture, human health and safety, and property.

That pretty well describes the Tioga Boar Hunting Preserve in Tioga, PA. They describe themselves as “the largest in the east, with hundreds of acres for you to hunt on, and a past record of the finest trophies ever taken anywhere!!” and “just across the upstate New York border.” They charge $500-$900 to hunt a boar, depending on its size (plus $85 per person lodging, $100 butchering fee (optional) and 2% credit card surcharge).

I called Tioga Boar Hunting Preserve and asked about being cited–though not specifically in the report. “That’s old. From two years ago. If you post something like that on your site, you’ll probably be hearing from our lawyer we have working on it,” said the man who answered the phone but refused to give his name. “It probably would be easier for you not to post something like that.” Golly, that’s intimidating.

“The only reason they put us in the report is we’ve been here since 1966 and everyone knows about us,” he said. The preserve’s boars are all tagged and that “there hasn’t been a report of a boar around here.” He blamed reports of released boars on another hunting preserve near Pittsburgh that released its animals when it closed.

The report, released Monday, used data from a survey and trapping in 2010.

The problem is that hogs damage crops, infect cows and pigs with disease, eat wildlife and food that should go to wildlife, and could potentially charge people. (They get to be huge.) In New York, the rare Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) could suffer from hogs eating the animals or destroying their habitat.



Feral pig 2004 distribution map

Feral pig 2004 distribution map

The Missouri Department of Conservation says that its hogs have roamed parts of their state “since the open range days” but just got out of hand in the 1990s because hunting guides would release hogs to promote hunting and the population got out of control. “It is believed that the biggest contribution to feral hog population expansion is the illegal release of feral hogs for the purpose of sport hunting,” says Rex Martensen, their field programs coordinator in a video. Hunting alone won’t get rid of the population, either.

Texas has a big problem with wild hogs, too–but not so big that they would only approve a plan that hog hunters like, , according to Wildlife Management Pro. The plan was hailed as “still giving hunters an opportunity to bag a boar trophy worth bragging rites.” The rules allow hunters to trap wild pigs and hold them in a trailer for a week before sending them to slaughter or to an approved canned hunt facility with fences at least five feet high. The swine form of Brucellosis has been confirmed in 19 cattle herds. Let’s contrast the tolerance of wild hogs to that of bison outside Yellowstone.


cowpigsheep Where to SEE FARM SANCTUARIES with cow, chicken, domesticated pig, sheep



deer Where to SEE DEER (and anteloope and reindeer)



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32 comments to Feral hogs now roam NY, thanks to releases by hunters

  • Lance

    Plan for a trip to South Texas, south and east of Dallas-area. Work the internet, get the information, plans and general area information. Get your OOS (out of state) hunting license, an RV for your stay works great, but motels abound, too. Make a few calls, with smaller town chamber of commerce offices glad to help you locate a place to hunt. From Texas to Georgia, most places are glad to see hunters come in for ‘feral pig reduction efforts’. Bow or gun, you’ll have a great time. Another great source of information is the given state’s local Wildlife Agency (game warden’s office) to tell you who you might be able to call (a farmer they know that has problems with them, etc.). Most are glad to give references to any responsible hunter who goes that extra effort to find a good hunt (without financing the local LLC ‘canned hunters’).

    If you coordinate it, you may find local co-ops willing to take the meat for the homeless (if you just want the experience and maybe a trophy head), or local processing companies if you want it cut, packaged and prepped to take back with you.

    Hope this helps.

  • Lance

    Bruce, seriously, think this through before you go making unsubstantiated claims. I address this as personally being a responsible hunter that adamantly follows all game laws, and rules of responsible hunter ethics. Why would a hunter ‘false game signs’ in an area that otherwise, would have no game signs? This is like putting up ‘NFL FOOTBALL GAME this tuesday’ signs at your local high school. First off, few who live there or know about it are going to ever think that an NFL game is going to be played there. Secondly, putting up the signs does not make the NFL come to your high school football field. Lastly, what good does it do me to put up those signs, and on Tuesday night, be the only one sitting in the stands waiting for the game that will not happen? See, this is insanity. No hunter in his right mind will fake game signs to get permission to hunt an area that actually has no game there. Ask permission to scout the area, forget it if there are no game signs. That’s how it works. Some unscrupulous hunters may scout an area illegally, but none are going to waste effort to actually ‘mark up fake signs’. Kids on a ‘crop circle tirade’? Maybe – but then again, that’s not a hunter. Hunters are NOT vandals, quite the contrary, most hunters have exceptional integrity, and will even fix things that they found askew, that they did not cause. At nearly 60-years old, I’ve put close to $60k into hunting and game management efforts (by my best calculation). When all is said and done, the average hunter’s contribution to wildlife outweighs the average conservationist’s contribution by over 10-to-1. Understanding that poachers are not hunters, and true hunters are exceptionally legal and moral, is the first key to understanding the lawbreakers versus the conservationalist huntsman.

  • Lance

    Understand something, the ones that ‘old world explorers’ brought over on their expeditions are NOT what that states like Texas are having trouble with. The original ‘wild boars’ were much more closely related to the European decended pigs we farm and eat now, than the ‘new monsters’ that states like Texas are having trouble with now. The proof is in the DNA. Many new studies of ‘troubled areas’ are showing that most of the ‘high reproductive zone’ animals are descendents of the Russian Boar, which was imported into the U.S. in numbers (for game hunting) starting heavily in the 1980’s. These boars differ in many aspects, including larger tusks, longer heads, larger frame size, far more robust to harsh winters and tougher environments, as well as far more territorial and aggressive. The DNA proves that these guys ‘aren’t your grandaddy’s razorbacks’, but a new, much nastier, faster-reproducing invasion caused by irresponsible canned hunt LLC’s. The worst part, is that they are so extremely difficult to get to in the wild, and reproduce so prodigiously, that it is IMPOSSIBLE to ever totally eradicate them now. They are a permanent feature that will require ongoing thinning, perpetually, for the foreseeable future. Left unchecked, they will destroy most habitat for other animals, including deer, turkeys, big cats, bear and domestic animals (not to mention property damage for humans). The good side is that they breed so prodigiously, you could almost feed the nation’s homeless by harvesting them, alone. The bad side is that few states are working towards such benefical programs to address wild boar reductions while also helping the homeless. No one wants to give the meat processing time or resouces, it seems. (a truly worthy government program that all should support – but I digress).

  • Lance

    No different than South American Piranha released into Tennessee and Alabama rivers for ‘better sport fishing’. Very much like the ‘scientific reports’ of big snakes ‘never being able to form a breeding population’ in the Everglades (what scientists were adamantly claiming in the late 1980’s early 1990’s), the same thing has been said about Piranha in the South. Problem is, those fishtank ‘save the baby, let him loose in the river cause I am too irresponsible to have a wild predator for long’ fish end up in a new ecosystem that they have no natural enemies in. As a result, you have Piranha facing off against bass, trout and bluegill for food and territory. Every season, you hear the same old line from the scientists ‘we see no proof of breeding populations or survivability for piranha in the South’, followed by a dozen guys you know catching them, cleaning them, COOKING THEM, and laughing about ‘how they will catch EVEN BIGGER ONES next year, cause they know where a ‘secret spot’ is to catch them now’. It’s a game, the scientists are lost, and the ‘good ole boys’ aren’t telling anyone where to actually go to see that there IS a problem. What a joke.

  • Mike

    In Hawaii they have open season for boar hunting year round. All they need to do is make that available to hunters to eradicate the pigs using pit-bulls and what have you and the problem will be decreased to the point where no one needs to worry. Allowing preserves that allow hunting at outrageous rates doesn’t create responsible businesses even if they tag them….The pregnant ones still have litters that result in more pigs without tags……Wild animals including Feral Ones shouldn’t be allowed to be kept….since they do sometimes get away. we should do like Arizona is doing and have a huge number of hunters flush the pigs out from vast areas all at once. That would work best……

  • doghouseriley

    Don’t tell me that hogs are not released to provide something to hunt. We were unindated by rabid racoons bought up by hunters back from the smokeys. Small mouth bass have been introduced into mountain streams to the detriment of trout that have been there since the end of the last ice age. This is plane selfishness by slobs that don’t give a damn about this country and continue to treat it like a whore they don’t like too well. I’m interested in any further talk about this. Just stop it.

  • Mr.B

    (Dragnet music): Dahhhh; Da, Da, Dah.

  • Headhunter

    I understand the concern however, the issue of feral hogs has been in North America since Christopher Columbus, brought them over from Europe as a food source for his band of sailors in 1492.
    During the 20th Century, it has been alleged that captive swine escaped from farm enclosures and subsequently gone feral.
    It is extremely irresponsible to blame, especially hunters, as this article is making hearsay allegations which will absolutely never be substantiated, and further, in America a person is innocent until proven guilty, at least that is what all tree hugging liberal bleeding heart people lament.
    Getting back on track, for the good of all, the feral hog population requires eradication. One way or another, should this issue go unresolved, it will in fact turn ugly as feral hogs also attack humans. We, are in their, food chain.

  • meat hunter

    BTW report anyone who breeds and or lets them go in the wild. I find it hard to believe hunters would do this, however there are poachers and law breakers out there. Report um all.

  • meat hunter

    the comment of Pennsylvania as a “yahoo hunting state” was in poor taste and unwarranted. Conservation is up to all of us. Hunters do more as a whole than any other group. At least the meat in my freezer lived a decent free life, not raised in possible poor conditions. Have you ever seen a chicken farm? I’m just sayin….

  • meat hunter

    I have to ask are you joking? Do you really think guys would spend that much time faking hog signs? I think your comment is highly unlikely to ever occur. Real hunters such as myself have ethics. I have hunted for 30 years and would have never considered that someone would go through the effort of such actions. I also have a 2 year degree in environmental conservation. I think if you spent some time doing OBJECTIVE research your views would change. Open your mind, look at the facts. Plant rights? WOW how about my relatives who planted 2 acres of cabbage and the woodchucks ruined it all. Total loss. $5000 physical loss (not what the crop would be valued at but true loss) If you want to do some good, support arbor day. start a campaign to plant 4 trees for every one cut down. Promote (labor intensive) woods cleaning of downed wood. Promote proper management of woodland of thinning so we develop nice large healthy trees so they do not suffer from competition. learn more about forestry. And for gosh sake dont believe everything you read in the internet. How about the hole in the ozone layer? well none of the panic pushers mention it has been opening and closing for as long as it has been documented. I personally have planted over 5000 trees. Have you done anything with your own hand to help? We can all help, and well I know more hunters involved in conservation than any other group. Btw, I never keep trophys, no horns etc. I use antler to make things etc. Hunters here often work with land owners and do more to keep our forests clean and healthy then any one else.

  • Charlie Strong

    Sir with all do respect; anyone who has a brain and a computer can tell if their damage was done by a pig. Someone who just wants to hunt a property and would like you to think you have pigs either thinks the property owner is stupid or has alot of time on his hands to make it look like a pig was there, Pigs do alot more than leave tracks.

  • Tracy

    Are you kidding me!? You cannot be serious thinking that hunters do that?!

  • garry

    im not going to support or deffend a statment or an opinion, true there are some people out there that will damage land or just plain old disrespect others property ,but not all hunters . its a fact crop damage is caused by ALL grazing wild life …

  • s sexton

    I just spoke to allegany park police about hunting these hogs they thought i was crazy!!!! “there were 3 hogs in 2009 that lasted about 20 minutes haven’t heen or heard of any since then”

  • Jim

    Where did you find the pigs ? I want in on the action. As long as they’re in the wild.

  • Jim

    I don’t think the problem is what they say. I’ve read a lot of hype and doom and gloom but the pigs just are not here. Even the map in the article dosen’t show pigs in ny or pa. I live in upstate NY and have been looking for signs of these pigs everywhere i go and i spend a LOT of time in the woods and fields near where they say the problem is. I have advertised my services to hunt these for farmers. I have not recieved any information on where they are nor have i seen any sign.

    It seems that they do better in the warmer climates and I would be surprised if they spread across new york state. We are just coming off a mild winter now and i will be on the hunt for (wild) hogs many weekends this summer.

  • bruce james

    I shoul have asa much right to comment as anyone else, your readers are intelligent enough to read all comments and form their own opinions. My comment can not be so bad that you need to protect people from reading it, can it ?

  • bruce james

    The wild pigs do not cause damage to crops. Hunters sneak into gardens and do this at night. The hunters use the tusk and feet of pigs they have killed to leave prints in the ground. This makes it look like the damage was done by pigs. Then hunters go to the property owner and get permission to hunt on his or her land. Believing that the pigs caused the destruction, the property owners often grants permission to the pig hunters. I am a member of VOGWOP. We defend the rights of trees and other plants and provide services to plants that are suffering from the effects of global warming and other problems they did not help to create. We are not about animal rights and we would not protect pigs if they really did the stuff they get blamed for. But we are some of the few humans who know better. SAVE THE PIGS

  • Daric

    YeeeHaww free roaming feral pigs in NY!?!?!?! lets go huntin’!!!!!!!

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  • kelly

    Can you give me some advice on hunting for feral swine…..?

    living in berks county and another home in Pulaski, NY … we would like to stop
    in at an arranged area in Courtland or Tioga for a feral pig hunt …. any info
    is appreciated.

  • William S. Schuessler

    In this Yellow Journalist’s opening comments, he states,
    “I used to think”. I might suggest you resume this obviously
    foregone activity.
    Hunters provide more revenue to the tune of billions of dollars each year for the presevation of wildlife, both game and non-game species. Non hunting wildlife groups provide little if any revenue to directly improve or preserve the habitat of animals they claim to protect. These
    groups primarily spend money trying to litigate and legislate hunting out of existance.
    Indeed, all hunters are not angels, there are good and bad
    people in ever group or walk of life. There is no concrete evidence Hunters released these animals. The matter needs
    intence investigation. I am not a fan of “Canned Hunts”, to me, it strains the ethic of fair chase. It also can present an environmental impact problem with the escape of
    exotic game, or the diseases they carry.
    Unlike you, Iam a little reluctant to tell a land owner what he can and cannot do to make money on his own land, and infringe upon the freedoms of others when I dont want my freedoms messed with.

  • doug camp

    I’ld love to hunt these animals.I live in Endicott ny, and love to be in the woods.But I’m not sure where to find or hunt feral hogs.Any information or contacts would be appreciated.
    I’ve been a serious archery only hunter for 13yrs. I have and use land owner contracts. I’ve worked & hunted with a couple land owners,with good success in the past.
    I look forward to your help and information.

  • scott

    Thanks for the map. Now i know where i can go hunting for hogs.

  • a white man

    this guy tim lowers him self to name calling and put downs like a littie kid…….he has no factes to back up a real debat…..pigs are a spreding thing like wild fire thay are all over the lower state and are moveing north…..hunting is the only way to stop this.I have killed over 20 hogs my self 30-06 and 12ga do the job and wild hog is dame good to…we shold all grab a gun and kill a hog…u can feed ur famliy and take a disrutive animal out of the mix …the same gos with wolves…..tree hugers suck…..

  • Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask, but I am just getting into hunting with my son. We live near Richmond, VA, and wanted to try Rasawek Hunting Preserve, but we couldn’t find any reviews of it. It’s about an hour west of Richmond: 2861 Hadensville-Fife Rd, Goochland, VA 23063 804-467-9000 Is it any good?

  • Daniel

    Haha i think thats funny also Time 3 meerkats debating whether to desplay your comment. The thing is these people know we speak truth thats why they are afraid of what we say. We listen to what they say then they try to silence us lol. It is soo funny.

  • Daniel

    Haha I think its funny these people think all these problems are caused by all hunters. A lot of hunters like myself cant afford to hunt these boars the biased journilist said i caused to go free. Kevin where do you suppose your meat comes from? I think its funny people say we hunters are evil but meat from a grocery store is packed with so much shit that it aint funny. Id much rather shoot me a deer or a boar and eat it. One 5.56 from a colt AR-15 “Assault Rifle” will put it down real fast, or do you think i should surrender my colt AR? Ohh wait i gotta surrender my shotguns and my rifles and my pistols because you probably are one of those people who think the average person doesnt deserve the right to own weapons. You probably think that if weapons are banned crime will go down. Funny thing about people like you is you dont understand that without hunting the animal populations will go so far up it will be detrimental to the ecosystem. If you take away human hunters, why not take away animal hunters such as coyotes and bobcats, and foxes because all hunters are evil right? I laugh at people like you kevin and the author of this article because you generalize all hunters, there are good and bad just like there are good and bad from everything. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

  • kevin

    Oh My, Those evil hunters are at it again. Bad enough hunters spend millions of dollars that each state uses for wildlife. Now they’re releasing animals to destroy the same land they hunt deer, bear, turkey, etc… Wow, somone needs to put a stop to all this. Maybe PETA will actually spend some of it’s millions on anilmals instead of it’s campains. Hahahahahahahahahaha

  • tim

    OH! Even better! “Tim, 3 Meerkats are debating whether to display your comment” LMAO! First of all, what adult refers to him or herself as a meerkat? Second, why are you afraid of free speech? Are you afraid an honest debate?

    Thank you for the laughs you have provided me today! Semper Fi and happy hunting.

  • tim

    Gee, I wonder if this guy is an anti hunter. I especially like the comment about the “yahoo hunting state of Pennsylvania” LOL, priceless journalism. At least it’s unbiased.