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.
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
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
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 benefits.
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 management efforts."
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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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