B.C. opens up feral pig hunting

Licensed hunters can now harvest feral pigs anywhere, anytime in British Columbia, following the animals’ re-designation under provincial wildlife laws.

The province announced an amendment Thursday to its Wildlife Act’s designation and exemption regulation, classifying feral pigs as “schedule C” wildlife, which ranks the hogs alongside magpies and certain squirrels for hunting purposes.

The new designation, the province said, “will assist in reducing (feral pigs’) numbers and also provide hunters an opportunity to harvest them that was not previously available.”

The province on Thursday described feral pigs as “invasive” animals that have escaped farms and established themselves in the wild. Such hogs have been reported in the Lower Mainland, Kamloops, Okanagan, Peace and Kootenay regions, the province said.

There are “not many” feral pigs in B.C., the province noted, but the animals’ new designation is meant to be a “proactive measure, since once established, feral pigs are extremely hard to eradicate.”

Also, the province said, such pigs can cause “significant damage to local ecosystems” by competing with local wildlife for forage, damaging crops, uprooting native plants and eating ground-nesting birds’ eggs.

Feral pigs can also be a source of “infectious diseases and parasites” harmful to wildlife, livestock and human health, the province said.

Feral pigs can also be aggressive and may pose a threat to the public or a hunter if they are wounded, the province said Thursday.

Hence the regulation requires anyone harvesting such pigs to have a valid hunting licence, the province noted, to ensure “only trained and certified hunters” harvest the animals.

Stephen MacIver, a policy analyst with the provincial lands ministry in Victoria, was quoted recently on a Saskatchewan-based hunters’ site, WildBoarCanada.ca, as saying there are “minimal populations” of feral pigs in the province, but the ministry was considering “proactive steps” to cut down the pigs’ potential to get established.

Thursday’s amendment also puts European wall lizards and “non-native” turtles on the “schedule C” invasive list, removing the need for a permit before trapping or killing those species. — AGCanada.com Network

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