State law allows farmers to shoot feral swine
ARENAC COUNTY — An official with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment says wild pigs are difficult to eliminate and can have a detrimental effect on people’s crops.
“They can go in a group or tear up a field and eat anything,” said Sheree Kershaw, an administrative assistant with the Michigan DNRE. “When the food source is gone, they’re gone. That’s how come we have them all over Michigan.”
Dan Fisk, a Sterling farmer who said he has lived in the area for 30 years, said that farmers scout their areas for wild pigs, trying to do so discreetly. He said that by and large, wild pigs tend to be nocturnal creatures.
“There’s a slim chance of seeing one in daylight,” he said.
According to the Michigan DNRE website, wild pigs, or feral swine, are considered “exotic, nuisance species and cause damage to agricultural lands and the environment.” Additionally, Public Acts 69-71 of 2010 “declare feral swine a nuisance species and allow for the opportunistic take of any free-ranging pig running at large.”
Kershaw also said it is hard for farmers to catch pigs as they are eating crops.
“You have to try and stay one step ahead of them,” she said. “They are supposed to be more nocturnal. That’s what makes it hard. They can feed all night long. They have to feed to stay warm.”
Fisk also said the pigs do the most damage to crops that are ready to be harvested.
“When the corn is getting ripe, they will knock it down and eat it,” he said.
Kershaw said farmers may hunt wild pigs on public land, but they have to have a valid hunting license or concealed pistol permit that makes them eligible to hunt on state land. The Michigan DNR website states that people may shoot wild pigs “any time during regular hunting hours and when actively night-hunting raccoon, opossum, fox and coyote.”
In addition, the site states that people may shoot wild pigs on private property if they are the landowner or have the permission of the landowner, and further states that those people do not have to have a hunting license or concealed pistol permit to hunt them.