Feral Hogs in North Carolina: How Many Are There and Where Do They Roam?

Group of wild boars, feral hogs
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Written by Niccoy Walker

Updated: May 31, 2023

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Feral hogs have been causing quite a raucous in the United States. Even though pigs are a part of our daily lives in North America, they are actually not native to the continent. Settlers brought them here in the early 1500s to be used as livestock. However, many escaped or were released over the centuries and established feral populations in the wild. Today, these wild populations are spreading throughout the United States, causing damage wherever they go. Learn all about feral hogs in North Carolina, including how many there are and where they roam.

How Many Feral Hogs Are in North Carolina?

Dominant wild boar, sus scrofa, male sniffing with massive snout with white tusks on meadow. Majestic wild mammal standing on grass in spring from side view

There are 100,000 wild hogs in North Carolina

There are an estimated 100,000 feral hogs in North Carolina. They are present in 81 out of 100 counties in the state. Hogs have been in the state since the 1500s, and many were released intentionally due to the popularity of boar hunting. In North Carolina, wild hogs had protection as game animals from 1979 to 2011, which further led to their population increase in the region.

Feral swine live in diverse landscapes, with the ability to survive in many habitats. However, you can often find them near streams and other water sources. These wild pigs can quickly become a problem due to their high rate of reproduction and their lack of natural predators. They are also very intelligent, which makes it challenging to control them.

What is Being Done to Control the Feral Hogs in North Carolina?

Currently, there is an NC Feral Swine Task Force, which includes the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the task force is to learn about these animals and the impact they leave on the state. By learning more about feral hogs, they can find better ways to manage their populations. They also encourage the public to report any sightings of feral swine to the NC Wildlife Helpline. You can use this form here to report wild hogs in North Carolina.

Where Are the Feral Hogs in North Carolina? What Counties?

Out of the 100 counties in North Carolina, feral hogs reside in 81. They live in isolated pockets but have a wide distribution across the state. While there is a higher concentration of their population in southern counties, they have been found in most areas, from the sea to the mountains and everywhere in between.

What County in NC Has the Most Hogs?

Johnston County, near Raleigh, has one of the highest populations of wild hogs in the state. Some other notable populations reside in Brunswick, Columbus, Bladen, and Anson counties.

Can You Hunt Wild Hogs in North Carolina?

Family of Wild Boar

Wild hogs are now considered nongame animals in North Carolina

While wild hogs were once classified as game animals, it became evident that the classification was doing more harm than good. Today they are nongame animals and feature no bag limits or closed hunting seasons. All you need to hunt wild hogs in North Carolina is a valid hunting license. You can hunt them at night and use dogs, but there are certain rules you must follow, which may include obtaining permits to hunt on game lands. For more information about wild hog hunting, check out the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

How Did Feral Swine Come to NC?

During the 1500s, European settlers and explorers brought hogs to America as a food source. Some pigs escaped into the wild and began breeding. But they were also intentionally released for sporting purposes, furthering the wild population. For over 100 years, feral pigs had protection as game animals until 2011, when they were considered an invasive species.

What is the Problem With Feral Hogs in North Carolina?

Feral hogs participate in rooting activities, which causes serious damage to plants and native habitats. They destroy agricultural land by damaging crops and landscapes, causing billions of dollars of damage every year. And they prey on native animals, such as birds and fawns. Further, feral hogs are known transmitters of serious diseases, posing significant health risks for livestock, pets, and humans. Their risks as free-ranging animals far outweigh their benefits.

What US State Has the Most Wild Hogs?

Wild hogs live in at least 40 states, with a total population of around nine million. While North Carolina has a significant feral swine population, there are several states with higher numbers. Texas has the highest wild hog population in the United States, with an estimated three million. Other states with a population of over 200,000 include Oklahoma, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, South Carolina, California, Hawaii, and Alabama. Read more about wild boar populations in each state here.


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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