Lawmakers declare open season on wild hogs

Feral hogs beware.

The Louisiana House passed a bill Wednesday that would make it open season on wild hogs day or night, all year round in Louisiana.

House Bill 353 sponsored by state Rep. Richard Burford, R-Stonewall, would allow hunters to hunt wild hogs year round including at nighttime.

Current law allows the hunting of wild pigs year round during daylight, but only at night between February and August.

HB353 is in response to feral hog populations that are exploding across the southern part of the country. Wildlife experts estimate that wild hogs cause $1.5 billion in damage every year to forests and farmlands as they root up pastures and eat anything edible in their path.

Estimates put Louisiana’s feral hog population somewhere between 500,000 an 1 million animals.

The state has previously loosened hunting restrictions, giving deer hunters increased permissions to hunt hogs, but that effort is seen as inadequate given the prolific breeding capacity of wild pigs.

Experts estimate that between 75 and 85 percent of hogs would have to be killed in order to keep the population stable.

House Bill 353 passed the House on a 85-10 vote. The measure now heads to the Senate for further consideration.