The time may come when you'll awake one morning to see your lawn, garden or field looking like a crazed person with a rototiller had attacked your property during the night. If you think that's not possible, you might want to consider the Department of Environmental Conservation's recent press release on New York's feral hogs, which are increasingly showing up in southern counties near the Pennsylvania border. Another invasive species, such as was the subject of last week's column.
The feral hogs that are showing up in New York are apparently ones that have migrated north from Pennsylvania, a state where escaped or released swine have reverted to the wild there. The Pennsylvania Game Commission has reported documenting wild hogs living in 11 counties there – and breeding in at least two of those – along with past evidence that they existed in four other counties, the state is at a crossroads with feral pigs, clear evidence that their population is growing, and if something is not done soon, the Keystone State could have a situation similar to the one in the Southern states where habitat destruction by feral hogs is a huge problem.
Currently free-roaming feral hogs have been verified in Tioga, Cortland, Tompkins and Cayuga counties. The DEC is asking licensed hunters to shoot any feral hogs on sight at any time of year. A small game hunting license is required. Of course hunters need permission from landowners to take hogs on private land and may take them on public land that is open to hunting when encountered there.