Ontario Nature Blog

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Ontario’s problem pigs

A drove of feral hogs in Texas

A drove of feral hogs in Texas, Credit: Josh Henderson CC BY 2.0

Sightings of free-roaming feral swine in Ontario have risen in recent years despite the animals’ tendency to travel at dawn, dusk and night. Some of these sightings have been made near Ottawa and Kingston. Diane Saxe, Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, has said that feral hogs are heading north from the United States into eastern Ontario. There have also been reports of wild boars that escaped from Ontario-based farms.

In the early 1900s, wild boars were introduced in many eastern U.S. states for hunting. Some of these boars bred with escaped farmed swine, adding combined genetics to the present day population of feral hogs in the area.

By wallowing in and rooting around in forests and wetlands, these invasive hogs in Ontario can make damaging pigsties of local ecosystems. This behaviour can disturb habitats important to native species, many of which are already stressed by habitat fragmentation.

Feral sow and boar in Florida

Feral sow and boar in Florida, Credit: Vincent Lucas CC BY 2.0

Feral hogs can also carry diseases, such as E. coli, giardia, rabies, foot-and-mouth disease, salmonella, anthrax and encephalomycarditis, that are harmful to humans, wildlife and livestock. They can also damage farmed crops.

Feral hogs in Louisiana

Feral hogs in Louisiana, Credit: Kent Kanouse CC BY-NC 2.0

If you have a feral hog sighting, please contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at 1-800-667-1940 and ask to be connected to the related district office.

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Noah Cole is Ontario Nature’s communications technician. He is dedicated to helping to protect Ontario’s wildlife and natural areas.

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13 Comments

  1. Tom Shields

    Can these be hunted in Ontario? What license is needed?

  2. Chris

    you may and no license needed just need to tell local MNRF office where and when you shot it

    • Tom Shields

      Thanks for the reply. You do need a small game license, but do not need a tag and there is no season (open season all the time).

  3. Marie savarie

    How far in Northern Ontario have these been spoted?

    • Rebecca Rogge

      I’ve heard of a few in Almaguin (East Parry Sound) south of North Bay.

  4. Glenn Sollie

    There should be bounty on these, as there once was on coyotes.

  5. Penny Decker

    It’s been made illegal to hunt, possess or transport the wild boars in New York State. This is because it had been found that, in Tennessee, if hunting was allowed, it was an inefficient way to control the population. Hunting disburses the boars and they multiply very quickly. Also people then get boars and release them in certain areas to get income from the sport of hunting. I hope Canada will take a page from New York’s policy before it’s too late. http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/70843.html

    • Keith

      Sure just leave them alone, they won’t multiply!

    • Steve

      Thats a crock of shit everyone knows hunting keeps population under control whether it’s deer ,bear or wild hogs , you just said they multiply at an astounding ratel so left unchecked they would be rampant everwhere.

    • Mike m

      Actually it is allowed…need to read it all:

      “Hunting or Trapping of Eurasian Boars is Prohibited
      Hunting or trapping of Eurasian boars is now illegal in New York State. A new regulation was adopted on April 23, 2014 that prohibits the hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boar statewide. The regulation provides exceptions for law enforcement officers, farmers, and landowners who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare. This regulation is necessary to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts.”

  6. Agneta Sand

    I know that in Sweden wild boars is a real problem, at least in some areas.
    I do not know how they approach the problem there, but i do not believe that open season year round is a good way to handle it.

  7. T

    All these invasive species should be eliminated before the population gets too big to control, like it is in the U.S.

  8. Martha Robertson

    I live in Nofolk County Ontario (southwestern ontario)
    I was out walking my trails a few days ago when I heard a very distinct snorting sound. I tried to capture the sound on video but my dogs where making noise and it did not work out.
    I will say this, it made the hair stand up on the back of my next and my 5 dogs that are hunting sighthounds stood still beside me staring into the direction of the sounds.
    It was only a few days later I went back out to the area from which I heard the snorting. I found many, many trees rubbed raw of bark and I don’t mean where a woodpecker would choose. This was about 1.5 feet above the snow line. I also found tracks which I thought belonged to deer only to find out a hogs track can be very similar only a tad wider. I also found several holes in the snow with out of nowhere as if squirrels were digging.
    Frankly, I’m having a very hard time believing it could be a wild hog but very much welcome any input.

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