National headlines are being made AGAIN.  The Fear that Wild Hogs, Feral Hogs or Wild Pigs are now becoming a national threat from the south to now the north. Feral Hogs in North Dakota? You bet! They have been documented as being in North Dakota since 2007. Those first sightings were near Grassy Butte and in the Turtle Mountains.

Last week, in a Facebook North Dakota Nature Lovers group, one member posted pictures of wild, feral pigs heading down a gravel road approximately near "Highway 50 between the Kenmare turnoff and Highway 8." This north-central sighting in the NW corner of Ward County in North Dakota only makes for more concern.


The attention on the subject is growing. On March 28th, 2023, NBC News NOW Hallie Jackson and & NBC's Jesse Kirsch highlighted the problem. It was then talked about on several NBC-affiliated news programming throughout the next 24 hours. Interviewed were North Dakota Deputy State Veterinarian, Beth Carlson, DVM, and Ryan Powers, District Supervisor USDA  APHIS Wildlife Service, who is overseeing North and South Dakota's handling of the species.



A new wild pig problem is on the horizon officials are warning. Wild pigs are nothing new to the United States, that is a 400-plus year history of dealing with invasive wild hogs. According to the University of Saskatchewan's Canadian Wild Pig Research Project, the wild pig issue is relatively new. "We didn't have any here until the early 1980s," says Dr. Ryan Book who leads their project. "There was a big push to diversify agriculture with species like wild boars and ostriches. Wild boars were brought in from Europe to be raised on farms across Canada."

Fast Forward. These pigs were crossbred with wild boars and domesticated pigs. The hybridization resulted in bigger "super pigs" capable of surviving cold climates. The market for these new hogs dropped out in the early 2000s, thus some escaped operations while others were simply let free as there was no one to sell them to.

Screen Shot MSN / CANVA
Screen Shot MSN / CANVA


The map above depicts how fast these mutant pigs procreated. They have an extraordinarily high reproductive rate and are predicted to now roam nearly 620,000 square miles of Canada, mostly in the Praire Provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta.


Wild boar, razorback, feral hog, wild pig. Those are just a few of the names for one of the most destructive, formidable invasive species in the United States. Tremendous damages from these animals currently cost the United States up to $2.5 billion annually to crops, forestry, livestock, and pastures. Feral swine present great risks to human health and safety as well as they can harbor and transmit dozens of parasites and diseases.

According to Canadian lead researcher, Dr. Ryan Brook, “That they (super pigs / wild pigs) can survive in such a cold climate is one of the big surprises of this issue. The Prairie Provinces are where we have the coldest winters in Canada except for the very far north. One of the things they do to survive is tunnel under the snow. They go into a cattail marsh and channel into the soft snow and cut nests in the cattails. If you go early in the morning on a cold day, you can actually see steam pouring out the top of the nests.”


The issue is dire. “Wild hogs feed on anything. They gobble up tons and tons of goslings and ducklings in the spring. They can take down a whitetail deer, even an adult,” says Brook. “Originally, it was like ‘wow, this is something we can hunt.’ But it’s become clear that they’re threatening our whitetail deer, elk, and especially, waterfowl. Not to mention the crop damage. The downsides outweigh any benefit wild hogs may have as a huntable species.”


Currently, there is no physical boundary between the U.S. - Canada border. There is barely any kind of fencing to speak of to be point blank. It is estimated that these wild super pigs or hogs, have already started migrating into North Dakota over the last five years.


Landowners or hunters who encounter feral pigs in North Dakota must notify the State Board of Animal Health immediately.  The shooting of feral pigs is illegal in North Dakota unless a person is protecting property or livestock.


Observe or suspect the presence of feral pigs, MAKE THE CALL.

North Dakota Board of Animal Health at 701-328-2655, Game and Fish Department at 701-328-6300, or United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services at 701-250-4405.

Last month 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" had fun with the threat too.

Do the right thing, MAKE THE CALL if you see.

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