The new rule, approved by the Illinois General Assembly' s Joint
Committee on Administrative Rules on March 19, is designed to
help the Illinois Department of Natural Resources better address
the management of feral swine and deter those who would seek to
establish and promote hunting of feral swine in Illinois.
"Feral swine are detrimental to wildlife and wildlife habitat
and can spread disease. This new rule will make it possible for
the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to more effectively
control the spread of feral swine in Illinois," said IDNR
Director Marc Miller. "Through our collaborative efforts with
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are well on our way to
eliminating feral swine from our landscape."
The IDNR, in cooperation with the USDA' s Wildlife Services
program have worked closely with dozens of landowners in
Effingham, Clay, Fayette and Marion counties for the past three
years to eliminate a population of invasive feral swine causing
severe damage to wildlife habitat, wetlands and agricultural
crops in the region. The IDNR and Wildlife Services have also
worked with a multitude of landowners to reduce a population of
feral swine in Fulton County. The population, once estimated to
exceed 400 animals, is down to less than approximately 20. IDNR
and USDA biologists are hopeful that this population can be
completely eliminated within the next several months.
The new rule (17 Ill. Adm. Code 700 – Wild Swine) makes it
illegal to hunt or shoot feral swine outside of the firearm,
muzzleloader, late-winter antlerless and CWD deer seasons.
Hunters must be legally hunting deer during those seasons, and
if they see a wild hog, they will be able to shoot it.
Limiting the circumstances under which a hunter may shoot
feral swine will also deter those who would bring feral swine
into Illinois illegally to promote hunting of wild hogs. By
restricting the release and harvest of feral swine, IDNR hopes
to prevent the culture of hunting wild hogs from developing, as
the costs of having these damaging animals far outweighs the
The new rule also is intended to prevent trespassing. Since
feral swine could be shot year-round before implementation of
the new rule, some hunters were tempted to trespass on private
property in pursuit of wild hogs.
"By itself, hunting of feral swine is not an effective method
of control," said Mark Alessi, assistant chief of the IDNR
Division of Wildlife Resources. "Shooting tends to scatter the
remaining individuals, and this makes it very difficult for our
biologists to track the pigs and impedes our efforts to trap and
remove multiple animals at once.
"We support the hunters who are able to shoot feral swine
during the deer seasons, and we ask that they inform us when
they shoot one. We have conducted a scientific survey of
landowners, and the majority of landowners support our
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Feral swine (Sus scrofa) originated from varieties of introduced
domestic swine, Eurasian wild boar and their hybrids and are
currently found in Illinois. Feral swine cause more than $1.5
billion annually in damage and management costs nationwide. Feral
swine have a high reproduction rate, eat just about anything they
can find and are extremely smart. They can produce two litters a
year, with up to 10 piglets each time. They have no natural
predators in Illinois, aside from humans. Their diet and destructive
rooting behaviors are detrimental to wildlife and wildlife habitat.
Under the new rule, feral swine can be taken legally in the
following ways in Illinois:
Hunters who are
legally deer-hunting during firearm deer seasons will be able to
legally shoot feral swine. They will also be required to
report the harvest of feral swine during firearm deer seasons to
the IDNR. Hunters are asked to report feral swine harvest to
Doug Dufford, manager of the IDNR Wildlife Disease and Invasive
Animals Program, at 815-369-2414. Hunters who legally harvest
feral swine can keep the meat if they desire.
It is now illegal
to guide or be an outfitter for feral swine hunting. It is also
illegal to hunt feral swine in an enclosure.
Landowners are required to obtain a
nuisance wildlife permit if they see feral swine on their
property and want to personally remove the swine outside of the
"gun" deer seasons, or they can contact IDNR staff for
assistance in removing feral swine at no charge to the
Illinois Department of
file received from
Illinois Office of
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