For states with a wild hog problem, this picture is indicative of just how bad that problem is. While feral pigs are more known for their destructive sprees when it comes to agriculture or the environment, it should be noted that hogs will also compete and even prey on native species. In fact, there are very few things that the swine will not eat. This picture, which was shared by LouisianaBowhunter.com on their Facebook page, shows a large hog carrying a dead whitetail fawn. The picture is believed to have been taken in Louisiana, which currently has wild pig population of well over half a million.
Just how badly are pigs impacting the deer population? Consider the fact that for the past few years, hunters in Louisiana have taken more hogs than they did deer. In 2015, sportsmen and women harvested 300,000 feral pigs, but only 139,000 deer.
“Hogs continue to be a primary concern,” stated the LDWF in its annual deer report in 2014. “Research shows that deer and hogs do not mix and that deer can be displaced by hogs. Research has shown that deer detection rates can be up to 49% less where hogs occur. Hog populations affect deer numbers through direct competition for food resources and fawn predation. Hogs carry infectious diseases such as Leptospirosis, brucellosis, and pseudo-rabies.”
The impact that hogs have in deer are not only noticeable, but very significant. When the pigs are not actively preying on deer, they compete with them for food and space while at the same time, they also degrade their habitat. All around, hogs are having a greater impact on deer than experts previously expected. Unlike deer, hogs are highly adaptable and can also breed very quickly. If you ever wondered just how feral pigs have managed to become such a nuisance, keep in mind that a single sow can produce an average of 12 piglets every year. At this rate, biologists propose that 75 percent of the total swine population must be harvested every year to maintain a stable number of pigs.
That is a lot of bacon.
Thankfully, a lot of states encourage hunters to harvest wild pigs and have very lax to almost no regulations when it comes to hog hunting. Some states, such as Louisiana, are relaxing their regulations even more as the hog population increases.