Feral hogs, they’re delicious, occasionally dangerous, and cause at least $2.0 Billion in damage every year. In the U.S. there are at least 6 million feral hogs and are known to inhabit 35 states. That’s bad news for conservationists and landowners, but good news for hunters who love pork!
There are currently 28 U.S. States which allow hog hunting for both residents and non-residents on private and public land. The remaining states either have no viable population of feral hogs or have banned hog hunting.
This article will focus on the information hunters need to know as they plan for a hog hunt in the U.S. This includes the prevalence and size of hog populations in each state along with a brief description of the regulations in each state. This article will also make it clear which states prohibit hunting as of spring, 2022.
Feral Hogs in the U.S.
First things first, feral swine are a destructive, invasive species. Containing and eradicating feral hogs is a top priority for many hunters, conservationists, landowners, and wildlife agencies. Not only do these creatures cause a ton of property damage, but their apatite eats up a lot of the resources that should be going to other game animals like Mule deer and upland birds.
The original feral populations date back to the 1500’s and the Spanish invasion the Southwester U.S. Until the 20th Century, expansion of these animals was slow but transportation and releasing of these animals has spread and exploded the population. Today there are at least 6 million feral hogs roaming the US in 37 states!
Feral swine has proven very difficult to remove permanently from an area. Pigs are very intelligent creatures, on par with a human child, and so they readily learn and adapt. Sloppy hunting techniques can make eradication efforts more difficult, so it is important for hunters to consider where and how they plan to hunt hogs to ensure that hunters won’t accidentally make the problem worse.
Considering most hunters are also conservationists, it’s obvious that our relationship with feral pigs is complicated!
Hog Hunting States
There are 28 U.S. states that have the opportunity to hunt hogs. The regulations vary from state to state. In some states, night hunting or baiting are legal, in others one or the other has been made illegal. Some states require a base hunting license, others require a separate hog license or no license at all.
Knowing which states are best to hunt hogs is the first step in planning a hunt. Looking at the total estimated population and the distribution of those animals, we can figure out which states have the most opportunities for hunters.
The Best States for Hog Hunting
Hog hunters must straddle the line between benefiting from an invasive, highly destructive species and conserving the native populations of game animals. Hogs compete with other animals like javelina for food so limiting their spread should be a priority. The best way for hunters to help is to focus on hunting in states with established, widespread pig populations.
In states with a low or isolated population, it’s best to allow populations to be eradicated through more effective methods, or to incidentally take a hog during hunting season. Historically, feral hogs have spread fastest by illegal transport and releasing by landowners hoping to profit from surging demand for hog hunting. The following states are the best for non-resident hunters to pursue hogs:
|Rank||U.S. State||Estimated Swine |
|Percent of State|
By keeping the demand localized to the handful of states with large populations of hogs, there is less temptation to illegally spread these invasive creatures to new areas. Residents of states that allow hog hunting can certainly cull animals themselves but these animals to be eradicated wherever possible.
Hog Hunting Regulations by State
There are three categories that states tend to fall into. The majority of states allow hog hunting and consider hogs to be a non-game or unprotected species. A plurality of states have made hog hunting illegal with few exceptions. The remaining states have no viable hog population to hunt.
In the following list, an asterisk (*) denotes a state that either has no viable hog population or has made hog hunting illegal.
Alabama has a sizeable hog population and is a very open state for hunters. The only licensing requirement is to purchase a small game license. On private land there is no season so it’s possibly to hunt year-round, but on public lands the season regulations must be followed and vary between different plots of land.
Night hunting is allowed with a permit, baiting and the use of dogs are allowed as well. Like most states that allow hog hunting, there is no bag limit.
The state of Alaska has very few, if any, feral swine. The climate conditions of the state make it difficult for hogs to survive or to expand their numbers. There are hogs present over the border in Canada but it remains to be seen whether they will expand into US territory.
There is no viable population of hogs in the state to hunt and feral swine are to be dealt with by landowners or state officials.
Arkansas allows both resident and non-resident hunters to pursue hogs. A sportsman’s license is needed to hunt hogs but other than that there are no additional licensing requirements.
On private land there is no regulations, but on public there is no baiting or night hunting allowed. Other basic hunting regulations must be followed on public lands, including regulations specific to different plots of land.
California, being the state that it is, actually does require a specific pig license tag to hunt hogs. The tag is not very expensive, but a new one must be purchased for each animal harvested. There is no bag limit so the state has a ‘pay to play’ mentality with hog hunting.
The good news for hunters is that California has a sizeable hog population between the coast and the central valley. Baiting is allowed during the general season but night hunting is prohibited. All other regulations must be followed according to this pig hunting guide.
Officially, Colorado has eradicated feral swine from it’s borders. This eradication process started in 2005 and finally succeeded in 2020. Hunters in the state may still kill feral pigs when encountered and there are private hunting lodges which still advertise hog hunting so there are some private-land opportunities. The most likely place to see hogs is in the southeast corner of the state.
There is no viable population of feral hogs to hunt in Connecticut.
There is no viable population of feral hogs to hunt in Delaware.
Pig hunting is very popular in Florida. In fact, it is the second most-pursued animal in the state behind deer. The sizeable and growing population of feral hogs has made Florida and excellent state to consider hunting.
For both residents and non-residents, a basic license is all that is needed for hunting on public property. On private property there are no regulations or licenses whatsoever. As for bag limits, some WMA’s have limits on how many hogs can be taken and hunting is restricted to certain times of the year.
Similar to Florida, hogs in Georgia can be hunting with only a base license. Resident licenses are only a few dollars while non-residents have to pay for a combination hunting and fishing license.
On private property there are no regulations, no seasons, no bag limits, nothing. Any legal means of taking an animal is allowed on private including the use of dogs, baiting, and night hunting.
On public property there are more regulations. Hunting hogs is allowed during other big game seasons and regulations are contingent on the rules for each season. For instance, primitive weapon deer season means hog hunters must use primitive weapons only, such as bows.
Hawaii’s pig problem is unique in that feral swine are not recent arrivals on the islands. Approximately 1,500 years ago Polynesians brought their own stock of domestic pigs (pua’a) to Hawaii. Centuries later, European boar was introduced and interbred with the old stock. Today, most pigs on the islands can still trace their ancestry back to the Polynesians with varying European influences.
Today, all but one of the major islands in the state have feral swine and their increasingly destructive behaviors puts much of the unique ecosystems in the state at risk. That being said, there is ample opportunity to hunt feral hogs in Hawaii on both private and public land. Season dates will vary but both residents and non-residents may hunt hogs.
Similarly unique to the state, Hawaii game management regulations vary between islands. It’s important to know which island you would like to hunt and obtain the proper regulations ahead of time. This is one state where going on a private land hunt may be easier for non-residents since guides can keep hunters informed of regulations and ensure the hunt remains legal.
There are feral hogs present in Idaho and the population is expanding. However, there is no state regulations for hunting these animals and the only licensing requirement is a general hunting license. Hunters must follow the basic rules of hunting in the state, which means night hunting is not allowed. There is no bag limit for hogs and it is an open, year-round season.
Illinois does have wild hogs in the state and the animals are an unprotected species in the state. However, hunting is restricted to firearms deer seasons and hunters must have a general hunting license in their possession. Baiting is allowed, but otherwise all other deer hunting regulations apply.
Indiana does not allow hog hunting on public land. As an unregulated species, this means that on private property any means of capturing, killing, or hunting hogs is allowed. There are no license requirements whatsoever but permission from the landowner is needed.
An additional rule is that no compensation or fee can be charged by either hunter or landowner for the removal of hogs. It’s quite a simple affair really. If a landowner wants hogs gone he is welcome to invite hunters to eliminate the animals but the hunters cannot charge for the service and the landowner cannot charge for access.
The sole exception to this rule are people licensed to remove animals professionally.
Iowa does allow hog hunting. There are no limitations on private property and on public property hunting is allowed anywhere and anytime a parcel is open to hunting. For licenses only a basic permit is required and nothing more.
Baiting is not allowed on public land but night hunting is. There is also no bag limit so hunters may kill as many hogs as they like.
The sport hunting of hogs has been outlawed in Kansas. Only land owners and state officials have the authority to neutralize feral swine.
Kentucky does allow for hog hunting on both private and public property. Hunters are required to possess a basic license but other than that there are no license requirements. On private property, hog hunting requires permission from the landowner, who is encouraged to call state officials instead. Basically, hunting in this state on private means being friends, family, or neighbors with the landowner.
On public property, there are some exceptions for a couple of recreation areas but overall hunting is allowed all year. There is no night hunting allowed on either public or private property, and baiting is only allowed on private. There is no bag limit for hogs.
Louisiana is a growing hotbed for feral hogs, who now occupy nearly the entire state. If there’s a plot of rural land that isn’t inundated with water, then it most likely holds feral swine. Hunting in the state only requires an annual hunting license (or a day license for non-residents). There are no bag limits and few regulations to follow.
Daylight shooting hours apply on public land, but on private night hunting is allowed. The only requirement is to notify the local sheriff’s department of any night time hunting activities. Baiting is allowed anywhere unless explicitly prohibited on a particular piece of land.
The state of Maine has no substantial population of hogs to hunt. While not explicitly outlawed, attempting to hunt feral swine in Maine is a waste of time.
There is not a hog population in Maryland large enough to hunting. Any feral hogs that are spotted should be called in and dealt with by state authorities.
There are no hog populations bit enough to hunt in Massachusetts. Feral hogs are to be dealt with by landowners and/or state officials.
Michigan allows anyone with a concealed carry permit or a valid hunting license to kill hogs on public property. There are no licensing requirements for hunting on private property. Night time is allowed during seasons for other mammals such as raccoons, baiting is allowed as well with a 2 gallon limit.
The only other regulations that must be followed are those for the current hunting season. Basicaly, defer to the regulations for deer, bear, small game, etc…
There is feral swine present in the state however the Minnesota government has banned the hunting of hogs in the state. Wild hogs are to be dealt with by state authorities and/or landowners.
Mississippi allows hogs to be hunted on both private and public property. A base hunting license is all that is required, though other licenses such as a life-time hunter qualifies as well. For weapons other than rifle, additional permits for each weapon is required (i.e. an archery permit for archery hunting). On private land there is no restrictions on season length or time of day for hunting hogs.
On public lands there are more restrictions but hunters must follow the regulations for each piece of land. This means some plots of land may have seasons or bag limits. Baiting is allowed but there are strict requirements in the state. Dogs can also be used except during spring Turkey season.
Missouri is infested with hogs however hunting them specifically has been banned. Hunters going afield for other species can shoot feral swine but they are highly encouraged to contact state officials. Essentially, hog hunting is illegal with some exceptions.
In Montana hog hunting is illegal. There is no significant population of hogs in the state and landowners who find wild hogs are encouraged to contact state officials.
There are hogs present in Nebraska, however hunting them is illegal. Hogs are to be dealt with by state officials.
Hunting hogs in Nevada has been explicitly outlawed by the state. Feral swine are to be dealt with by the Nevada Department of Agriculture.
All feral hogs in New Hampshire are considered property that has escaped enclosure and so permission is needed from the landowner. The largest populations of hogs in the state are found on lands managed by the Blue Mountain Forest Association. While permission is needed, hunting hogs is possible in the state.
Along with permission, hunters need a valid hunting license. The basic licenses are the cheapest and easiest to obtain. Night hunting is not allowed and baiting is regulated, but can be done on both private and public property.
Hog hunting in New Jersey is allowed during hunting seasons in specific zones. Hunting outside the season or in other areas of the state is prohibited. In order to hunt hogs, a general hunting license is needed.
Night hunting is not allowed but baiting is. The use of dogs is unclear.
Feral Swine are present in the eastern half of the state which has considerably more agriculture land compared to the western half. The good news is that there are no licensing requirements for private or public land to hunt hogs.
Hunting may be done year round and the use of bait is allowed, however night hunting is prohibited. Considering New Mexico is a destination state for big game species like Elk and Mule Deer, being able to hunt hogs at the same time is a great benefit.
New York has outlawed the hunting and trapping of feral swine in 2014. Wild hogs are to be dealt with by state authorities.
North Carolina only requires a basic hunting license for residents and non-residents. Baiting, night hunting, artificial light, and the use of dogs are all allowed to hunt feral swine.
On lands such as WMA’s, specific regulations for that property must be followed. Other than that, it’s an open season in NC!
While North Dakota does have a small feral swine population which invaded the state via Canada, it is illegal to hunt the animals in the state. Feral hogs are to be dealt with by state officials or by land owners with permission from the state.
Ohio’s regulations vary depending on the time of year. During deer season, a deer tag is required in addition to the basic hunting license. All rules for deer hunting apply during the deer seasons, including laws on night hunting, baiting, and the use of dogs.
However, in the off season hogs may be pursued by any means with only the basic hunting license being required. Night hunting and baiting are both allowed as well as the use of dogs. The Ohio Division of Wildlife does prohibit the use of bait which would attract birds (such as seed and grains).
As the second most populous state for feral hogs, Oklahoma is a destination state for hog hunters and one of the best to travel to. There are no licensing requirements in the off-season, but during big game seasons the appropriate license for that game animal is required (i.e. a deer tag for deer season).
This means that there are virtually no regulations to follow in the off season, but during hunting seasons the regulations for each season apply. In other words, hogs are to be hunted like an in-season big game animal during the appropriate times of the year.
Night hunting does require a permit, but it can be done.
Hogs are a recent invader in Oregon. On private property there is no licensing requirements but a basic hunting license is required to hunt on public lands. Hogs may be pursued year round and killed with extreme prejudice. However, baiting and night hunting is not allowed in the state.
Pennsylvania allows for hogs to be hunted with relatively few regulations compared to other animals. There is no specific license requirement other than whatever is in effect for the big game season at the time. Basically, during deer season a deer license is needed.
There are some areas which periodically are closed off either due to eradication efforts or season closures. These restrictions must be respected. Additionally, there is no baiting or night hunting allowed.
Rhode Island has no viable population of feral hogs to hunt.
Licenses are only needed on WMA’s. On private property or public land open to hunting that is not a WMA, there are no license requirements. Similarly, there is no season limits or regulations on private property, only on public lands.
Night hunting is allowed for pistol and archery, but cannot be used in conjunction with a centerfire rifle or shotgun. Additionally, during big game seasons, hogs can only be hunted with the approved weapons for that season.
The state of South Dakota does not regulate hog hunting. There is no season or laws other than local ordinances which must be followed. However, there is not a big population of swine in the state and nuisance animals are taken care of either by wildlife officials or landowners.
Tennessee license requirements for public land will vary depending on the region, but on private property there is no license requirement. Night hunting is allowed on private land with an exemption as is baiting. On public land, the regulations for that area must be followed.
However, there is no bag limit or season for feral hogs, so generally the animals can be pursued all year and stacked high!
Texas is the Mecca for hog hunters. With the largest feral hog population in the U.S, Texas offers the most opportunities by far for hunting. A general license is required for hunters, though if a landowner is looking to have hogs eradicated completely then there is no requirement. This exception isn’t something most hunters can apply to themselves so it’s best to just have the general license.
Bait and night hunting are both allowed on private land. There is no bag limit, though private hunting ranches usually charge for every hog that is killed.
Since 2012 hog hunting has been banned in Utah. Feral swine are to be removed either by landowners or state officials.
The state of Vermont does have some wild hogs, populations that are shared with neighboring New Hampshire. However, unlike NH, hog hunting is banned in Vermont. Nuisance animals are to be dealt with by state officials.
In Virginia, a general hunting license is required. However, public land opportunities are limited with most hogs residing on private land. Owner permission is therefore a de facto requirement. Virginia has a cased gun law which hunters should be aware of if hunting on public property.
The good news is that baiting and night hunting are both allowed. There is also no bag limit.
Washington has no permanent feral swine population and any which enter the state are to be dealt with by state officials. Hunting hogs is therefore illegal and a waste of time.
West Virginia, like it’s sister state, doesn’t have all that many hogs available to hunters. In fact, this state is closed to boar hunting for non-residents. For residents, a free license is all that is needed. Some counties also have a season for wild boar. Night hunting and baiting are both prohibited.
Wisconsin wants hogs removed completely wherever possible. Therefore there is ample opportunity for hunters. All that is needed is a basic license. Night hunting and baiting are allowed with no restrictions, and there are no seasons or bag limits.
Stocking feral pigs or running pig hunting outfits has been outlawed. The best way to hunt pigs in this state is either on public land or in coordination with a landowner wanting these animals gone.
There are few, if any, feral hogs in Wyoming. Regardless, it is illegal for hunters or landowners to shoot the animals and any eradication must be done at the discretion of state officials.
This article took a tremendous effort to put together. However, there is plenty of opportunity to have gotten something wrong. It is the hunter’s responsibility to know the laws of whatever state they wish to hunt in, and feral hogs are no exception. Additionally, if anyone notices a recent change in the law or an error, feel free to leave a comment so corrections can be made!