Feral Hogs | Limiting Habitat Destruction

A Mature Boar
A Mature Boar

The presence of feral hogs in North Carolina is becoming more frequent. While some parts of our state have higher densities than others, the effects of hogs can cause severe damage to your property. Essentially any habitat management will be overshadowed by an unmanaged herd of hogs.

Hogs prefer a forested riparian habitat with a year-round water source. They spend much of their time in hardwood bottoms and young pine forests, depending on the time of year. They are just like deer when it comes to seeking acorns and hard mast in the fall. Of course, having feeders or easier food sources available may influence their feeding patterns. Male hogs, boars, are solitary unlike the female hogs which stay in small groups with their young. A hog will become sexually mature at 5 months of age and is capable of having two litters every 12 months. The breeding season peaks around early spring and late fall. A litter ranges in size from 6 to 10 hogs on average.

The foremost problem with hogs, especially if left unmanaged, is the fact they can destroy much of the habitat management you have done. They tend to wallow in food plots and shady timbered areas. Mineral sites can become grounds for wallowing and even young trees can be uprooted and destroyed. They wallow in muddy wet areas in order to keep cool during the summer months. Their sebaceous glands don’t function in a fashion that allows them to sweat, so this is their primary way to stay cool.

Feral hogs compete with native wildlife species for forage availability and the results can be detrimental to the habitat. This will in turn cost you money and limit the impacts of what management practices you implemented. Limiting the number of hogs on your property should be one of the primary goals to accomplish if you have feral hogs on your property. It will benefit you in the long run and create a more productive hunting property.

If you have noticed feral hog damage on your property, now is the time to take action. While it is nearly impossible to eliminate the presence of feral hogs, you can definitely limit their impact on the habitat management you have implemented.

Andrew Walters