Hog hunting permitted in daylight hours only

By South Carolina DNR

Published: April 15, 2009

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that hog hunting is not allowed at night.

Night is defined by state law as the period of time from one hour after legal sunset of one day to one hour before legal sunrise of the next day.  This includes using dogs to hunt or catch hogs at night even if no weapons are in possession.  Hogs can legally be trapped at night and individuals suffering agricultural or other property damage from hogs can receive a depredation permit which authorizes shooting of hogs at night.

Night hunting some species, such as feral hogs, deer and turkey is illegal and carries stiff penalties such as fines, possible jail time, forfeiture of hunting license and confiscation of any equipment being used, such as vehicles and firearms according to S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials.

It is unlawful to use artificial lights at night, except vehicle headlights, while traveling in a normal manner on a public road or highway, while in possession of or with immediate access to both ammunition of a type prohibited for use at night and a firearm capable of firing the ammunition.

In addition to the night hunting prohibition, feral hog hunters should remember that they must possess a valid hunting license and when hunting on a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) they must wear a hat, jacket, or vest of solid international orange and possess a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) permit. No hogs may be taken live from any WMA in the state. All WMA rules and regulations apply. Find out more about South Carolina hunting regulations.

Additionally, state law prohibits the release or transport for the purpose of release, hogs for hunting purposes or in an attempt to establish or supplement a free-roaming population.

The 2007 Deer Hunter Survey, the most recent numbers available, also asked hunters to provide information on their wild hog and coyote harvesting activities. Documenting the hog harvest became customary several years ago because wild hogs are commonly taken incidental to deer hunting.

During 2007 an estimated 27,971 wild hogs were harvested by deer hunters in South Carolina, a 4.1 percent increase from 2006 (26,843 hogs). Evidence of the presence of hogs in 42 of 46 counties in 2007 was made by hunter harvest activities. With respect to river drainage systems, top counties for wild hog harvest per unit area include Allendale, Hampton, and Jasper in the lower Savannah River drainage and Calhoun, Richland, and Sumter counties in the Congaree/Wateree drainage.

Wild hogs are not native to South Carolina or any part of the North American continent. They are descendants of European domestic hogs that escaped or were released dating back as far as the early Spanish explorers. Also, closed-range or fencing requirements for livestock did not arise until the 1900’s and letting hogs "free-range" was common prior to fencing laws. Wild hogs were historically associated with the major river flood plain systems in coastal South Carolina. Unfortunately, recent relocations of wild hogs by unknown individuals appear to be responsible for the species populating areas where they were not found in the past. Wild hogs directly compete with native species like deer and wild turkey for habitat and food, and hogs can do significant damage to the habitat and agricultural production through their rooting activities.  They also pose a significant health risk to livestock and humans due to disease transmission.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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