Two “wild-appearing” feral hogs that have been roaming about the greater Loudon area have been successfully dispatched by a local Wildlife Officer, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Loudon County Wildlife Officer Anthony Chitwood reported that he spotted the hogs on the “Notching Hill” hunting lease after speaking with a local hunter involved with the property. Chitwood was able to gain access to the area, locate the hogs, and euthanize them. Kyker Bottoms WMA Manager Bill Smith, retrieved tubes of blood that were to be sent to the USDA lab for disease testing.
The pair of hogs from an unknown origin were first reported to the TWRA as they were seen crossing Highway 72 several days ago. The Loudon City Police Department also transferred sighting calls to Chitwood, who set a baited trail camera in the area. Calls also came in from the Tellico Village area to the Tellico Parkway, further indicating the large area of the hog’s travel.
Eliminating these particular feral hogs highlights the importance of community involvement in making known the whereabouts of local feral hog populations to the TWRA.
Last year, the TWRA began an aggressive hog control program with the goal of eliminating populations where possible and controlling them in others. Wild hogs are no longer considered big game in TN. Instead, they are classified as nuisance wildlife to be controlled. In order to help reach these goals, the TWRA created an exemption program that gives landowners great opportunities to control hogs on their property. In addition, the possession of live hogs originating from the wild is now illegal.
According to Statewide Big Game Coordinator Chuck Yoest, landowners operating under the new exemption program killed 3,200 hogs last year, while TWRA personnel harvested 472.
Wild hogs cause extensive damage to agriculture, wildlife habitats, and waterways. Furthermore, they carry diseases harmful to livestock and other animals as well as humans. The primary reasons for their rapid spread are high reproductive and survival rates along with illegal stocking. Unfortunately, managing them as big game animals has not controlled them in Tennessee or other states.
Mr. Chitwood wishes to remind the public to call the TWRA poaching hotline at 800 831-1174 with any hog sightings in TWRA’s Region 4, which consists of 21 counties in east Tennessee.