LANSING — As Southwest Michigan families prepare for the fall hunting seasons, state Sen. John Proos urged residents today to report any sightings, shootings or trappings of feral hogs to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
“Like other invasive species, wild hogs pose a serious threat to Michigan’s natural resources and our state’s $72 billion agricultural industry,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Feral pigs are voracious eaters – consuming anything from crops to live animals. I urge all Southwest Michigan residents to help protect our important agricultural community from this invader and report all sighting of feral swine to the DNR.”
Residents who spot feral swine are asked to record the date, time, precise location and number of swine observed and provide that information to Michelle Rosen at email@example.com or by calling 517-336-5030. Additional contact numbers, a reporting form and information on feral swine are available on the DNR’s website at: www.michigan.gov/feralswine.
“To help eliminate this threat, hunters are encouraged to shoot feral hogs at any time of the year, as long as you have any valid hunting or concealed pistol license,” Proos said. “This will allow for greater participation from the public to help stop this menace.”
Public Acts 69-71 of 2010 declared feral swine a nuisance species and allow for the taking of any free-ranging hog at large and as such, can be taken on public land and, with permission, on private land.
In addition to destroying important crops, feral swine also spread more than 30 different diseases that can devastate Michigan’s livestock, dairy and poultry industries and even spread to humans. Pork production is a major industry in Michigan, with 2,100 individual producers employing over 32,000 people and pumping nearly $7 billion into the state’s economy.
“The industry has a particularly large presence in Southwest Michigan,” said Proos. “We should eliminate this invader whenever possible in order to protect our local economy, as well as our environment and our families.”
In December 2010, state officials issued an order declaring feral swine to be an invasive species. The order will go into effect on Oct. 8, 2011 unless the Legislature acts on new regulations. More than 35 states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have declared wild hogs an invasive species. Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania have banned the importation, release and captive hunting of wild hogs. The USDA estimates that feral swine cause more than $1.5 billion in damages every year nationwide to farms, property, vehicles and natural wildlife resources.