It’s not a joke. The threat that feral swine pose to Montana’s wildlife, habitat and to our agricultural industry is very real. And it’s very pressing, with reports that feral swine are well established within a few miles of the Montana-Canada border in Saskatchewan.
Across the United States, feral swine cause an estimated $1.5 billion in crop and private property damage. They do a tremendous amount of damage to habitat by digging. And they kill numerous native mammals, amphibians, and birds. Feral swine, which are descended from Eurasian wild boar but also can descend from domestic pigs that become feral, also carry numerous diseases and parasites that are a threat to livestock, pets, and humans.
In 2015, MWF stood with our friends in the agricultural community to pass a bill to make it illegal to transport, or possess feral swine in Montana. It was the right thing to do. In Montana, we value our native wildlife populations and the world-class hunting and wildlife watching opportunities they offer. We live in a state with a dozen native big game species. We value these incredible resources and work to conserve them every day. We also value our agricultural producers and the contribution they make to our economy, as well as the private habitat they provide for our public wildlife.
The law passed in 2015 was very carefully crafted. We don’t allow the hunting of feral swine because we don’t want to develop a constituency for them, as we’ve seen in other states with feral swine populations. But landowners can kill them on sight if they’re threatening livestock or property.
The best solution to feral swine is to keep them out of Montana in the first place. Feral swine are found in an estimated 38 states, and we want to keep Montana on the list of states that don’t have them.