Feral hogs, non-native and destructive scourge in all habitats of South Carolina, can eat turkey and turtle eggs, salamanders, and food items required by other wildlife as well as destroy habitat with their rooting behavior. The group shown in the images consisted of two large females and 8-10 piglets. They were moving quickly along the swamp's edge until the lead sow caught our scent. A quick grunt and the entire group turn 90 degrees and departed at full speed.
Their keen sense of smell, their intelligence and their overall alertness makes it difficult to rid the swamp of feral hogs. Although trapping and hunting can remove individuals from the population, a sow can replace those individuals with one litter. Additionally, there is no breeding season for feral hogs, so a sow can have multiple litters in a year. Sows can begin breeding at 7 or 8 months of age and can produce over 1,000 feral swine in a five year period.
It is estimated that South Carolina has 90,000 to 280,000 wild hogs. The estimates range widely because hogs often inhabit dense woods and swamps (like Four Holes Swamp!), which makes accurate counting difficult. "Lethal removal would help keep the numbers down, but it won't control the population," said Jack Mayer, a feral-swine expert at the Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken. "You'd have to kill 70 percent every year for nine years to keep the population under control. That's a tough order." Beaufort Gazette