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You asked: Virginia official: No crime in releasing wild hogs

Published 9:10am Tuesday, December 11, 2012

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You asked: Is releasing feral hogs a crime in Virginia? 

BY STEPHEN H. COWLES/CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Playback58@gmail.com

FRANKLIN—One cannot release any animal on land that is not his.

“That’s always been the case,” said Aaron Proctor, district wildlife biologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Charles City.

He cited a case at the Cavalier Wildlife Management in Chesapeake in November 2010.

“We suspect someone dumped feral hogs. No one else said they’d lost them. The hogs’ origins are suspicious,” said Proctor. “There are people willing and able to transport and release the varmints where they’re not supposed to be. That is illegal.”

The chief reason for moving and releasing them is for hunting, but he added that many sportsmen and residents either don’t know or realize the potential for disaster.

They have no natural predators and reproduce rapidly, said Southampton County Extension Agent Chris Drake. They also do more damage to crops than deer, bears or turkeys because they are voracious and root up the land.

Pigs are considered livestock by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Game and Inland Fisheries Department.

“We say you cannot have, sell or move them – feral hogs – without a permit, which you’ll never get,” Proctor said.

A gray area or conflict with VDACS rules is that a landowner can have feral hogs on his property “because a hog is a hog,” Proctor said. “Both agencies are working to close this loophole.”

Bringing any livestock into Virginia without permits from U.S. Department of Agriculture and the VDACS is illegal, he said.

Another exception within that such permission is not needed when livestock is moved within Virginia.

“We need to find away to fix this,” said Proctor.

There is no reward system in Virginia for reporting the release of feral hogs, but other states do offer rewards, he said. Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky and Oregon are examples Proctor gave of places ahead of Virginia in addressing the laws about the problem.

“Our lawmakers need to be made aware,” he said. “Landowners, farmers and hunters should speak to their representatives.”

Anyone seeing feral pigs or know of them being moved should contact Proctor at 357-5224 or visit www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/feral-hogs.

Drake can be contacted at 653-2572.

 

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