Wild Pig Symposium Planned for October 18 in Sweet Grass

A Wild Pig Symposium On the Border will be held October 18, 2019, at 6:00pm at the Legion Hall in Sweet Grass, MT.   Farmers, ranchers, hunters, any landowner, border patrol agents and anyone else interested is encouraged to attend.

The Speaker line up for the evening includes Ryan Brook,  head of Saskatchewan Wild Boar Project,  and Bob Brickley, rancher and chair of the Moose Mountain Wild Boar Eradication Team: Dale Nolte, National Feral Swine Initiative Coordinator for the USDA, APHIS  based out of Fort Collins, Colorado, along with John Steuber, Montana Director Wildlife Services and Tahnee Szymanski, Assistant Montana State Veterinarian.  

Sponsors of the Symposium include Montana WIFE, Front Range Farm Bureau, Marias River Livestock Association, and  Montana Woolgrowers.

While we haven’t experienced the extensive damage feral pig or wild boars can cause here in Montana, that could change rapidly without vigilance on the part of farmers and ranchers.

Wild boars or feral swine are rapidly expanding in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.  This invasive species population is exploding and is closer to Montana’s northern border every year.   There is no national or provincial eradication or management plan for Saskatchewan and while Alberta is working to control the population, they are not successful.

The possibility of a Feral swine introduction into Montana comes from both borders. The northern border being overrun with the uncontrolled population of Canadian feral swine or the real threat of people introducing southern wild swine via trailer and release onto the Montana landscape for the enjoyment of hog hunting.  Either method of introduction could drastically change both agriculture and hunting in the state.

Feral swine cost over $1.5 BILLION a year in the USA in damage and management. An incident in 2013 where Eurasian boars were brought to Montana triggered legislation that was passed in 2015. The state took a firm stance in passing law to help prevent the introduction of feral swine.  The law prohibits the transporting, possession and hunting of feral swine and set a $2000 minimum fine for anyone caught doing so.  While landowners can kill feral swine on their property if they pose a threat of harm to people or property, no profit can be gained by hunting, trapping or feeding the swine.