CONWAY — A natural resource agent with Clemson extension will meet with residents from the Colonial Charters Homeowners Association to talk about concerns related to wild hogs, calling this the “first significant encounter with [homeowner’s associations] in the county.”
Ben Powell, a natural resource agent with Clemson extension, said during a public safety committee meeting this week that it’s part of his job to provide outreach to residents of South Carolina on managing natural resource challenges, which he says involves wild hogs and coyotes. Recently, Colonial Charters has contacted county officials about the wild hog problem it has seen, which some credit to the high waters of the Waccamaw River.
“This is the first significant encounter with HOAs in the county, said Powell, who also is part of the South Carolina Wild Hog Task Force. “Our farmers have been pop-shotting these pigs for years now, when they see them... Through research and through our experiences, we know that the animals are spreading largely through hunting activities. People are picking up live animals and spreading them throughout the state. But they’re also traveling river corridors.”
Powell said the area has been dealing with wild hogs for decades.
“This is not a problem that’s new at all,” he said. “We know the animals have naturalized. They use the river bottoms and are extremely adaptable. There are some other problems with these animals. They cause a lot of damage, primarily to the forest lands and the agricultural lands, but they also are aggressive animals.”
That, along with their ability to spread disease to farm animals and to people when they are killed and processed for food.
“We want to try and limit the contact people have with hogs the best we can,” he said, adding trapping and fencing are other options to limit contact. “There are a number of strategies we have to remove hogs from contact with people. But let’s put it this way: No one strategy will do it all and there is no hog-proof strategy out there... The main issue that I will say is that no matter what strategy we employ, it’s going to take a lot of resources, a lot of effort and a lot of time.”
In the last couple of years, South Carolina has passed laws to allow night hunting of hogs from Feb. 28 through July 1. During that time, hunters can call and get a permit for the year.
But now that it’s off season, the state only permits hunting the wild hogs and coyotes in extreme cases. Powell said he would meet with the Colonial Charters Board of Directors to talk about how they can address the issue.
Councilman Brent Schulz said the fight with wild hogs will continue to be a concern.
“This originated from HOAs, but it’s a countywide problem,” Schulz said.
Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or follow him at Twitter.com/TSN_jrodriguez.