As of October 2013 it is illegal to import, breed or release Eurasian boars in New York. After September 1, 2015, it will be illegal to possess, sell, distribute, trade or transport Eurasian boars in the state. In addition, a new regulation adopted on April 23, 2014 prohibits the hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boar statewide. For more information, see below.
Eurasian boar are native to Europe and Asia. Also known as Russian boar, wild boar, wild hog, razorback, or feral swine, invasive Eurasian boar are new to the New York landscape, represent a great threat to New York and have the potential to become permanently established if action is not taken immediately.
Why Are Eurasian Boars a Problem?
Eurasian boars are a highly adaptable, destructive, non-native, invasive species. The primary source of Eurasian boar in New York appears to be escaped or released boars from enclosed shooting facilities, breeding facilities, or animal sanctuaries. DEC's goal is to prevent and eradicate Eurasian boars from New York's landscape. Eurasian boars in New York can have tremendous negative impacts on native plants, native wildlife, livestock, agriculture, and humans including:
- Eurasian boars eat hard mast (acorns and other nuts) and directly compete with deer, bear, turkey, squirrel and waterfowl for food.
- Eurasian boars consume the nests and eggs of ground nesting birds and reptiles.
- Eurasian boars will kill and eat fawns and young domestic livestock.
- Eurasian boars will eat almost any agricultural crop as well as tree seeds and seedlings.
- Their rooting and wallowing habits destroy crops and native vegetation, cause erosion, and negatively affect water quality. Every Eurasian boar in the wild is estimated to destroy 11 acres of wetland in its lifetime.
- Eurasian boars have razor sharp tusks and have been known to be aggressive toward humans and their pets.
- Eurasian boars carry and can transmit several serious diseases including swine brucellosis, E. coli, trichinosis, and pseudorabies to livestock and /or humans. Some of these diseases, if introduced to domestic swine, can decimate the pork industry and could result in New York losing the ability to ship pigs or pork products to other states.
Eurasian boars (scientific name: Sus scrofa scrofa) usually appear hairy. They are most often dark black or brown, often grizzled with gray. Piglets are lighter in color with brown and tan stripes. The stripes disappear as they get older and darker in color. Unlike most domestic, farm pigs (scientific name: Sus scrofa domestica), Eurasian boars usually have a long straight narrow snout, a long straight tail with a tuft at the end and erect hairy ears. Some have a "mane" of hair that stands up along ridge of their back ("razorback"). Most have large, prominent tusks.
Eurasian boars are highly adaptable and prolific. If weather is good and food is plentiful, Eurasian boars can breed as early as 6 months of age. They can breed several times a year and their litter size can range from 2-8, although litters as large as 10-12 have been reported. A Eurasian boar population can double in one year.
What You Can Do
If you see Eurasian boars, please report them to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or e-mail us. Since it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all free roaming swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs are greatly appreciated as they help us determine if it is a Eurasian boar, so please try and get a picture and include it with your report.
Eurasian Boars Prohibited In New York
A law was passed on October 21, 2013 that immediately made it illegal to import, breed or release Eurasian boars in New York. In addition, after September 1, 2015, it will be illegal to possess, sell, distribute, trade or transport Eurasian boars in New York. You can find a link to the Eurasian Boar Law in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website".
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.
Why is the Hunting of Eurasian Boars Prohibited?
New York wants to eradicate all Eurasian boars in the wild. To achieve that, the DEC had to ban the hunting of Eurasian boars. The most efficient way to eradicate Eurasian boars is by trapping the whole sounder (the name for a group of pigs) at one time. Research and management experience has taught us that this task is best accomplished by wildlife management agencies who are committed to total eradication. Trapping takes a lot of time, effort and money because boars are very wary and need to be slowly baited in and accustomed to the trap. When a hunter shoots at a boar, the animals in the sounder run off in all directions and don't always come back together again. Hunting prevents us from trapping all the animals in the sounder, makes the boars harder to trap during subsequent attempts (boars learn to avoid traps if they are shot at around a trap), and instead of one large sounder, we must now have to locate and eradicate two or more smaller sounders.
Hunting is an inefficient and ineffective way to control or eradicate a population of Eurasian boars. Because the boars have a high survival and reproductive rate, hunters must take 70-75% of the population each year just to stabilize the population. That is nearly impossible to do. Even in Texas where wild boar hunting is very popular, hunters take less than 40% of the population each year.
Lastly, the leading contributing factor in the spread of wild boars in the U.S. is the illegal release of boars by those who want to establish a boar population in areas where wild boars previously did not exist. By prohibiting hunting, we have eliminated any incentive to illegally release boars into the state.
The following wild hog problem in Tennessee illustrates the need to prohibit the hunting of Eurasian boars. In 1999, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) made an attempt to control the expansion of the wild hog population by opening a statewide hog season with no bag limit. It was during this period of unlimited, statewide hunting that the wild hog population expanded from two localized populations to 80 of the state's 95 counties. New populations of hogs began to appear in areas of Tennessee where they had never existed before, likely the result of illegal stocking by individuals whose goal was to establish local hunting opportunities. In 2011, the TWRA enacted new regulations to remove the incentive to relocate wild hogs. They are now considered a destructive species to be controlled by methods other than sport hunting.
Questions and Answers
Q. Can I hunt Eurasian boars in NY?
A. No. It is illegal to hunt or trap free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State.
Q. If I see a Eurasian boar while I am deer hunting, can I shoot it?
A. No. It is illegal to hunt or trap free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State. If you observe a boar while afield, please report it to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or e-mail us.
Q. Can I shoot Eurasian boars at an enclosed shooting preserve in New York?
A. Yes, you can continue to take Eurasian boars at enclosed shooting peserves until September 1, 2015. After that date it will be illegal for these facilities to possess live Eurasian boars.
Q. I own a farm and some wild pigs are destroying my crops. I think they might be Eurasian boars. Can I shoot them?
A. Maybe. If they are domestic pigs that likely escaped from a nearby farm you should not shoot them. You should try to find the owner of the pigs. If they are Eurasian boars, there are provisions in the regulation that would allow you to shoot these animals if they are damaging your property. Any landowner that suffers damage from free-ranging Eurasian boars should contact a DEC regional wildlife office to determine if a permit is needed to shoot nuisance or destructive Eurasian boars on your property.
Q. I own a pot belly pig. Can I still keep it?
A. Yes, you can keep your pet pot belly pig. The law only regulates Eurasian boars and their hybrids and does not regulate domestic pigs possessed for meat production or as pets.
Q. I rescued a Eurasian boar from a game farm. Can I keep it on my farm?
A. You cannot breed the Eurasian boar or release it to the wild, but you can legally keep it until September 1, 2015. After that date it will be illegal to possess any Eurasian boar or hybrid of a Eurasian boar.
Q. I saw a dark-colored pig that I think might be a Eurasian boar. What should I do?
A. Report any animal that you think might be a Eurasian boar to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or e-mail us. Try to get a picture of the animal and include it with your report. Let us know how many you saw and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Include a description of the animal such as the color, whether it looked very "hairy" or had sparse hair, whether the snout looked short, turned up, long or straight, and about how big it was.
Q. What if I still own Eurasian boars after September 1, 2015?
A. That would be a violation of the law and for the first or second violation you can be fined up to $500 per animal in your possession or for any boars imported, sold, offered for sale, traded or transported. Subsequent violations of the law will result in a fine of $1,000 for each animal for each act or an amount equal to three times the value of the animal as meat production, breeding stock, or shooting stock.