The Pennsylvania Game Commission will soon vote on a measure to remove protections currently in place for wild boars in the state. The animal is a a nuisance and invasive species, although certain ranches do sell hunts for the animals.
If the board approves the measure to remove boars’ protections, it would ban their importation, possession and release into the wild, among other things. An importation ban would be effective July 2013, and possession in July 2014.
Feral swine and boars have been a problem in Pennsylvania for some time, and similar measures have been proposed before, but none have been taken so seriously as the current measure before the board. Commission Executive Director Carl Roe proposed the idea to remove protections for the boar last spring and it went out for public comment. Mostly hunting preserve owners responded saying not to move forward with the order because the boars are “an important commodity.”
The commission does not believe their importance to business outweighs environmental conservation concerns. The commission’s official position on feral swine states, “Feral swine are not native to Pennsylvania and present many problems to wildlife and people. They can cause tremendous damage to habitat and property, and pose an ever-present threat to wildlife and the biosecurity of the state‘s multi-million-dollar pork industry. Pennsylvania would be a better place without these swine, and the Game Commission is committed to their eradication.”
A 2009 article in Weekly Press, a Philadelphia community newspaper, on feral swine in Pennsylvania states, “Feral pigs are incredibly invasive, and do immense environmental damage. They destroy habitat for turkey, grouse, deer and other critters, by rooting and digging up the soil for food. They will eat nearly anything: tubers, roots, stems, leaves, fruit, bark, and their favorite — acorns — competing for mast crops with native wildlife. They also eat bird eggs and trample and kill native birds.”
There are about 20 to 30 preserves that offer feral swine hunting in Pennsylvania.