Deer season in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area begins September 3 in Kentucky and will begin September 24 in Tennessee. During that time, wild hogs may be harvested and also during an extended season that lasts from the end of deer season through the end of February.
Only weapons legal for the current hunting season may be used for hunting feral hogs. For example, during the archery deer season, feral hogs can be taken only using archery equipment; during muzzle loading season, feral hogs can be taken only using muzzle loaders; and during gun season, they can only be taken with a gun. Hunters must possess a valid kill tag for the weapon that you are using.
The wild hog is an exotic invasive species that is significantly impacting the native resources at the Big South Fork. Little is known about the wild hog population within the park, but the damage pigs are causing is threatening park resources including federally listed species such as the white fringeless orchid, Cumberland sandwort, and Cumberland rosemary. Hogs destroy wildlife habitat as well as crops on private lands. Wild hogs can also contribute to the spread of disease, including pseudorabies and swine brucellosis.
To better understand the wild pig population, the park has partnered with the University of Tennessee to conduct a wild pig research project. Hunters are encouraged to not kill wild hogs with transmitter collars. Anyone who does acquire a transmitter collar is encouraged to contact Jason Fisher, Wildlife Biologist at Big South Fork, or contact information found on the collar so that the transmitter can be placed on another wild hog to continue the research.
The data from the research project will help to determine movement patterns of wild hogs including their responses to removal/hunting efforts and will also provide baseline data for the development of a better wild hog management strategy. Summer data shows that the current collared hogs are staying in home ranges that are approximately 2-5 miles long and they tend to stay together. Movement patterns are likely to change when the hard mast starts falling. Disease testing has been done on a small sample of wild pigs, with preliminary results indicating brucellosis and pseudorabies are not present. However, this information is from only a small sample size, and hunters are encouraged to always use personal protective equipment, such as latex or rubber gloves and eye protection when field dressing wild animals.
A permit is required to harvest hogs at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. A permit costs $5 and may be purchased at Bandy Creek Visitor Center from late August until the end of February. There is no limit on the number of hogs that can be harvested, and they are not required to be checked in.
For additional information, please contact park headquarters at (423) 569-9778 or visit online at http://www.nps.gov/biso/planyourvisit/hog-hunting.htm.