In a move to further safeguard the state’s natural resources from wild boars, the Pennsylvania Game Commission agreed in a preliminary meeting to enact regulations that would prohibit the importation and possession of wild boars. If approved, the ban will essentially spell the end of boar hunting in Pennsylvania.

Wild boars have been known to establish populations in the wild after escaping from captivity and can cause great damage to the native species and fauna. They are also known to breed with domestic pigs that have gone feral, producing giant-sized hybrids. One such case was the infamous “Hogzilla” that was harvested in Georgia during the summer of 2004. The 800-pound behemoth was so large that the hunting guide who harvested it, Chris Griffin, deemed it too expensive to stuff.

When in the wild, boars represent free game for hunters. However, boar hunting is also popular in Pennsylvania on many hunting reserves where the animals are placed under careful watch. According to the Pittsburg Trib, the ban will drastically impact many of these businesses.

“I don’t feel it’s responsible to take someone who’s got all of their money invested in their livelihood like me and put me out of business,” said William Snyder, who owns a boar ranch in Shippenville. “It’s a chemotherapy for my industry. I think there are better solutions out there.”

The consensus among reserve owners is that while boars should be kept out of the wild, a complete ban will put them out of business and impact the state’s hunting industry.

Tioga Ranch’s Mike Gee proposed an alternative: state licensing of the hunting reserves. Many of the ranches in Pennsylvania keep strict guidelines so boars don’t escape, but not all are so stringent. Smaller hunting reserves have been known to have breakouts due to lax care. The Game Commission reasons that it is because of these smaller operations that new regulations are being brought forward for all hunting preserves. A state license will mean that the Commission will be able to monitor each reserve, something that Gee says responsible owners will welcome.

The Game Commission will come to a final decision on the matter in April.

Image from Jeremy Atkinson (jez.atkinson) on the flickr Creative Commons

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