October 23, 2013

Horry County to discuss addressing wild hog, coyote problems

Horry County Councilman Harold Worley knows a bit about how much of a nuisance wild hogs can be.

Horry County Councilman Harold Worley knows a bit about how much of a nuisance wild hogs can be.

“Being an old farm boy myself and being raised on a farm and raising hogs, I do know how vicious they can be,” Worley said of the wild hogs. “I wouldn’t want anybody to get hurt by one of these wild hogs.”

That’s why the county’s public safety committee plans to devise a plan of attack on wild hogs, who have been wreaking havoc on farms, yards and wooded areas this year. It also plans to address coyotes, which are said to be tamed similarly. Coyotes also have caused problems this year in Surfside Beach, which hired a trapper, and neighborhoods along the Grand Strand.

Rising river waters are what some people believe are to blame for this year’s seemingly higher number of complaints than in years past, said Nathan Hudson, with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

“Wild hogs have been here and they’re going to be here,” Hudson said. “The state recognizes that. They get into farmer’s crops, they get into people’s yards and they get into people’s woods. They cause problems, they cause damage and they’re also spreading wildly... They’re going to keep growing as long as we don’t put a check on them.”

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.

“At that point and time, they can get rid of the wild hogs by any means necessary,” Hudson said, adding hunters must be elevated 10 feet off the ground. “It has put a dent in the hogs.”

But now that it’s off season, the state only permits hunting the wild hogs and coyotes in extreme cases. So now the county must step in a come up with a way to control both populations for the public’s safety.

“The best way to, this is according to biologists, get rid of hogs and coyotes is to trap,” Hudson said. “They’re smart animals and they do get trap smart. You just need to be smarter than them.”

The problem is not isolated to Horry County.

“We do have some issues with wild hogs as well,” said Jackie Broach, spokeswoman for Georgetown County.

Broach said North Island in Georgetown County had issues with wild hogs tearing up sea turtle nesting areas. She said the DNR had to step in for that case and resolve the matter.

Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said trapping may be the option the county goes with.

“We’ll have to look at some trapping situations,” he said. “I’m sure there are trappers in Horry County that do that type of work.”

Worley said he has received some complaints of wild hogs in the Colonial Charters Golf Course area in Longs and, after talking to county staff members, they asked for direction from the council.

“Staff doesn’t know how to deal with it or they don’t know how we want to deal with it,” Worley said. “Anyone that hunts... understands that they can be vicious and can really hurt a human, dog or domestic animal.”

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