Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Hunting Or Trapping Of Wild Boars In NYS Now Prohibited

DEC LogoA new regulation that prohibits hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State has been formally adopted by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). According to a statement issued to the press “the regulation is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts.”

Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions are now present across much of the southern U.S.  In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts” according to DEC wildlife experts.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation on October 21, 2013, which immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian boars.  Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of September 1, 2015.  DEC officials believe the new law is an essential step in the state’s efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild.

However, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York.  Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years.  DEC is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York.   To date, more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed.

“Hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive,” DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens told the press.  “As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder,’ the name for a group of pigs that can number 20 or more individuals.  Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove.”

According to DEC: “Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts.  Shooting may remove one or two animals, but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts.  In addition to prohibiting take of free-ranging swine by hunters, the new regulation prohibits anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities.  Hunting wild boar is still allowed at enclosed hunting preserves until September 1, 2015.”

The regulation provides exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare.

Anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York should report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or to:  fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us and include “Eurasian boar” in the subject line.

Because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all free-roaming swine is encouraged.  Report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs of the animals are especially helpful, so try to get a picture and include it with your report.

Full text of the regulation can be viewed on DEC’s Weekly Environmental Notice Bulletin for April 23, 2014, available online.

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3 Responses

  1. JEFF COSTIGAN says:

    IS IT TRUE WILD BOAR HUNTING IS ILLEGAL IN NYS?? IF SO, WHY?? I DONT SEE WHY, WHAT WAS THE REASON FOR THE STATE TO CLOSE IT FOR GOOD?? DOES THIS GO FOR HUNTING PRESERVES ALSO OR ONLY TRUE WILD BOAR IN THE WILD?? I DONT UNDERSTAND, THEY ARE CONSIDERED PESTS, YET THE HUNTING FOR THEM GETS BANNED. CRAZY IF YOU ASK ME. NOW NY HUNTERS ARE STUCK PAYING OUT THE NOSE TO GO WAY SOUTH TO HUNT HOGS. NOT FAIR IF YOU ASK ME. PLEASE POST TO WHY THE STATE DECIDED TO BAN HUNTING FOR WILD BOAR. THANKS, JEFF COSTIGAN.

    • John Warren says:

      “Hunters” are the reason we have invasive wild boar. They escaped from canned hunts.

    • Ryan Finnigan says:

      From the DEC website:

      “New York wants to eradicate all Eurasian boars in the wild. To achieve that, the DEC had to ban the hunting of Eurasian boars. The most efficient way to eradicate Eurasian boars is by trapping the whole sounder (the name for a group of pigs) at one time. Research and management experience has taught us that this task is best accomplished by wildlife management agencies who are committed to total eradication. Trapping takes a lot of time, effort and money because boars are very wary and need to be slowly baited in and accustomed to the trap. When a hunter shoots at a boar, the animals in the sounder run off in all directions and don’t always come back together again. Hunting prevents us from trapping all the animals in the sounder, makes the boars harder to trap during subsequent attempts (boars learn to avoid traps if they are shot at around a trap), and instead of one large sounder, we must now have to locate and eradicate two or more smaller sounders.

      Hunting is an inefficient and ineffective way to control or eradicate a population of Eurasian boars. Because the boars have a high survival and reproductive rate, hunters must take 70-75% of the population each year just to stabilize the population. That is nearly impossible to do. Even in Texas where wild boar hunting is very popular, hunters take less than 40% of the population each year.

      Lastly, the leading contributing factor in the spread of wild boars in the U.S. is the illegal release of boars by those who want to establish a boar population in areas where wild boars previously did not exist. By prohibiting hunting, we have eliminated any incentive to illegally release boars into the state.

      The following wild hog problem in Tennessee illustrates the need to prohibit the hunting of Eurasian boars. In 1999, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) made an attempt to control the expansion of the wild hog population by opening a statewide hog season with no bag limit. It was during this period of unlimited, statewide hunting that the wild hog population expanded from two localized populations to 80 of the state’s 95 counties. New populations of hogs began to appear in areas of Tennessee where they had never existed before, likely the result of illegal stocking by individuals whose goal was to establish local hunting opportunities. In 2011, the TWRA enacted new regulations to remove the incentive to relocate wild hogs. They are now considered a destructive species to be controlled by methods other than sport hunting.”

      http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/70843.html