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S.C. House passes bill to expand hunting of wild hogs

Hunting

S.C. House passes bill to expand hunting of wild hogs

The House overwhelmingly agreed Tuesday to declare war on wild hogs and coyotes in South Carolina.
Representatives voted 97-1 to give second-reading approval to H.4943, which allows night hunting of wild hogs, coyotes and armadillos from March through June. Hunters will be allowed to use bait, electronic calls and night vision devices.
Rep. Phillip Lowe, R-Florence, used the war analogy when he introduced the bill in committee in March. He suggested extreme measures were necessary to slow the spread of wild hogs and coyotes.
Wild hogs have been in the state for centuries, but their populations have exploded and spread from the Lowcountry in the past few decades. Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens and an avid hunter, said people who spend time in the outdoors are noticing more wild hogs in the Upstate. Coyotes, which only arrived in the state in the past two decades, also are showing up throughout the state now. Armadillos, also recent invaders, are still found mostly along the coast.
A S.C. Department of Natural Resources document in 2008 estimated the state’s wild hog population at 150,000, but DNR officials now discount that number as a guess. In the agency’s deer hunter survey, hunters have reported killing about 35,000 hogs and 30,000 coyotes annually in recent years.

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