Feral pigs going hog wild in Virginia

Posted at 11:58 PM, Mar 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-15 00:16:00-04

(WTVR)- Wild hogs are widespread in states like Texas, California and Florida, but they’re starting to take root in Virginia too, and the state says it’s a big problem.

“We have noticed an explosion of new populations across the commonwealth,” Aaron Proctor from Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said.

The issue is gaining attention after a hunter bagged a 500 pound wild hog earlier this week.

While the porker was killed in North Carolina, hogs like it live in Virginia too.

Aaron Proctor works for the state trying to curb the animals from going hog wild.

“We call them four-legged ecological disasters,” Proctor said.

He said the wild pigs endanger Virginia’s agricultural industry along with our natural habitat.

“They are a terrible, terrible thing to have on the landscape,” Proctor said.

Making matters worse is the incredible ability of wild hogs to reproduce.

At just six months of age, a female can become pregnant.

In a 14 month period, she can give birth three times to up to 10 babies.

“They are always doing their thing,” Proctor said.

Local hunter Marlon Dance frequently takes trips south to hunt wild hogs.

“They’re delicious to eat,” Dance said.

But, that does not mean Dance wants to be hunting them in his home state.

“We do not need pigs, wild boar here at all,” Dance said.

While Dance could hunt the wild beast in the Commonwealth if he wanted to, Proctor said it’s not the best way to keep the hog population down.

“When you have an interest in hog hunting…you create hog hunters, which creates more hogs,” Proctor said.

He said working to keep them out of the state completely will ensure they do not end up in your neighborhood.

“What’s important to know is if they do end up in an area…put here, dumped here, dropped here, they can survive and they will thrive and spread,” Proctor said.

While hogs multiple at a rapid rate, they are not very mobile creatures.

Proctor said it is humans who are to blame for moving them into new habitats.