Missionaries and explorers first introduced hogs to North America in the 17th century. Early settlers encouraged the success of feral hog populations through open range practices. Their populations grew quickly due to their alarming reproductive capabilities. Where food is abundant, females may produce two litters of 4-12 piglets every year. Given their exponential growth and the lack of any natural predators, it is no small wonder that this large, noisy, eating machine has come to be regarded as a nuisance species.
Feral swine can cause real financial problems for landowners. Timber producers suffer when hogs forage on seedling trees. Farmers may lose valuable crops to the hogs foraging, rooting, and wallowing. The hogs destroy habitat for desirable wildlife like deer, turkey, quail, some songbirds, and encourage proliferation of exotic invasive plant species. As hogs root and wallow, groundcover is destroyed and runoff and erosion can ruin water quality in nearby streams. Feral hogs are also vectors for disease like brucellosis, sparganosis, and trichinellosis. Disease can be passed to domestic pigs and to humans. Hunters who field dress hogs without gloves are potentially exposing themselves to several dangerous diseases.
Feral hogs can only be controlled by eradication. Relocation only spreads the nuisance to another area. There is no closed season or bag limits for feral hogs on private land in Alabama. The only restriction is that they cannot be hunted at night or over bait.