Moving feral hogs? That’ll get you jail time
Published 1:07 am Saturday, September 5, 2015
Stiffer penalties for releasing and transporting feral hogs in Alabama have been implemented.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced this week that the offense has increased from a class C to a class B misdemeanor, which carries a mandatory fine of $2,500 and possible jail time of up to 180 days.
Previously, judges could impose a fine of up to $500.
Feral hogs may be hunted all year with no bag limits, and hunting of them is encouraged.
Chief Enforcement Officer Kevin Dodd said he believes that the new fine will be a deterrent for people who transport live hogs from one area to another, a practice that has been illegal in Alabama since 1997.
“The damage these animals can cause to property and crops is serious, and illegally transporting and releasing them is a serious offense,” he said. “Now we have a fine that reflects that.”
Feral swine are a threat to both native wildlife and agriculture.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that feral swine in the United States cause more than $1.5 billion in damages and control costs each year.
They can damage almost any commercial crop by foraging, feeding, chewing, rooting and trampling it.
Local feral hog expert Mark Hainds said that many people who catch and relocate feral swine don’t realize the far-reaching consequences of their actions.
“I have had numerous book events where hog hunters or relatives of hog hunters have told me stories, first and second-hand, about catching and relocating feral pigs in Alabama, Florida and Louisiana,” he said. “One time, I was shopping at the old Walmart location in Andalusia and a random guy in the sporting goods section told me he had helped release pigs on the Conecuh River. I believe this was before there were laws restricting the movement of feral pigs.”
Hainds said in most cases people have come to realize the harmful effects of their actions, but by then, it is too late.
“They have already established another population of feral pigs that will wipe out their neighbor’s corn and peanut fields,” he said. “Other neighbors will have to replant their longleaf pine because feral pigs rooted up their plantings.”
To report anyone transporting or releasing feral hogs in Alabama, call 800-272-4263.