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Wild hogs are a non-native species to Minnesota, even though domestic pig farming can be found across the state. Due to their destructive behavior and damage to vegetation, the state considers any type of wild swine to be an invasive species. The number of wild hogs is extremely limited in the state, but hunting them is perfectly legal.
North Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa, which of all border Minnesota, have known hog populations in the wild. In the case of Wisconsin and Iowa, these pigs live in a handful of the counties bordering Minnesota. In August 2008, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that several witnesses saw a European wild boar in the Detroit Lakes area of Minnesota. Vegetation damage consistent with wild pigs also has been found in other parts of the state.
Wild boar and any hybrids bred from domesticated pigs are not protected by the state. As a result, hunters can kill wild hogs anytime; there is no hunting season or limit on size or number. Domesticated pigs that have become feral can also be hunted, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reserves the right to capture and/or kill any pigs that have escaped or become feral.
Deer hunters in Big Stone County, Minnesota, killed several feral pigs in 2009. According to the “Feral Swine Report to the Minnesota State Legislature” in 2010, these pigs were not hogs, but potbellied pigs. Since the hog population in Minnesota is so low, organized hunts are rare, but they could increase if the invasive species continues to spread.
Releasing Hogs for Hunting
While hunters can kill any hogs they discover within Minnesota, the state strictly prohibits anyone from releasing wild hogs into the state intentionally. According to state law, importing, transporting, possessing or breeding boars within Minnesota is illegal. These laws exist to prevent wild hogs from invading the state.
The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for controlling any wild pig or hog population within Minnesota. Currently, there is no recommendation for expanding hog hunting in the state, or for setting up hunting seasons. Although criminal penalties already exist for anyone intentionally releasing wild boars into the state, the “Feral Swine Report to the Minnesota State Legislature” also recommends that penalties be implemented against anyone releasing domesticated pigs into the wild.
- hog in plash image by Galyna Andrushko from Fotolia.com