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East Tennessee Outdoors… Wild Hogs – Part 2

BY DANNY BLEVINS

STAR CORRESPONDENT

I am a hog person. I enjoy almost every part of a good, fat hog. Bacon, ham, tenderloin, you name it, and it is more than welcome at my table.

They claim a hog is one of the most intelligent animals that has ever been domesticated.  I know from personal experience that they are one of the most aggressive animals and will bite a hunk out of you if given the chance.

The wild hogs that roam the Appalachian Mountains and much of the Southeast United States can find their origin in Asia and Europe.

In fact, the first hogs to be brought to America came from Spain by Hernando de Soto when he explored the southeast United States, including Tennessee.

Some of the hogs that he brought escaped and multiplied. What we call a wild hog today has a total of 16 sub-species, but they all have several things in common.

First, they can be very aggressive, especially when it comes to their young, and secondly, these hogs are willing to destroy their habitat.

A hog will not only dig up the earth to get to the roots of a plant, but they will also eat the bark off trees, and even the small tree itself.

When a herd of wild hogs moves into an area, they will usually not leave until they have destroyed it.

With this in mind, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency stopped having a statewide hunting season a few years ago. The reason they stopped the season was some people were bringing hogs into an area so they could hunt them and run them with their dogs.

The hunting regulations have been amended to the following:

1.   Any hunter can take a wild hog during any big game hunt.

2.   Any hunter can take a hog in some areas after big game seasons are over.

3.   Any landowner can get a permit to take a wild hog on their property during a night hunt.

4.   Any landowner can take as many wild hogs as they wish on their own land.

5.   Any landowner can also trap as many hogs as they wish on their own land.

6.   Any hunter who is hunting for bear with dogs can take a hog during the same hunt.

7.   Hunters can pay a small fee and hunt hogs during any deer season on the Big South Fork National Recreation Area.

8.   Finally, it is illegal to possess, transport, or release any live hog in the state of Tennessee.

Wild hogs have the TWRA concerned, and if these creatures get a foothold in our area, they could change our hunting and farming for the worse.

Not only do they destroy their habitat, but they also carry parasites and diseases that can be passed to domestic livestock.

The hogs are not coming; they are already here. Wild hogs have been spotted in several parts of Carter County, and if you see one hog, there are probably 30 that you will never see.

The TWRA has changed its rules and we as outdoorsmen and women need to do our part.

We need to read the new Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide. Know the laws and take full advantage of them.

If you are allowed to take a hog during a hunt and you can, take it. That is one less creature that can reproduce and destroy our mountain habitat.

Put some pork on the table. Future generations of outdoorsmen and women will thank you for it.