UPDATE: Success! HB 167 was deferred in the Senate Natural Resources Committee and will not pass this legislative session. Your emails were a huge part of making that happen. Thank you!
HELP PREVENT POACHING DURING DEER SEASON
House Bill 167 (HB 167) would allow nighttime hunting of feral hogs and coyotes year round, including DURING deer season. Enforcement of illegal nighttime hunting is incredibly difficult. The law currently allows nighttime hunting for outlaw quadrupeds, nutria, and beaver from the last day of February to the last day of August and with a permit from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries during the remainder of the year. The law as it stands allows a landowner to control feral hogs on their property year round.
Feral Hogs are a Problem, but This is NOT the Answer
The feral hog population has exploded exponentially in recent years. Sows can have up to 10 piglets per litter and up to 2 litters per year. Because they are a non-native invasive species, feral hogs have no natural predators and are considered an outlaw quadruped. Landowners and farmers are dealing with the brunt of the problem.
It is critical that legislators put more resources towards dealing with this problem and help agencies and private landowners work together to develop agreements and coordinated efforts to sufficiently reduce the population. However, allowing nighttime hunting deer season is not the answer. This legislation will encourage poaching. The enforcement of individuals illegally hunting deer at night will become incredibly tenuous. Even if an officer sees an individual night-hunting who is illegally deer hunting, the hunter can say he is hunting hogs. This legislation encourages illegal activity. Moreover, hunting at night places stress on deer population by causing increased movement at night during deer season. The same concerns apply to waterfowl and other game animals.
There is already a solution in place for farmers or landowners who need to kill or capture hogs at night between September and February. Any landowner can apply to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for a night-hunting permit of nuisance animals, including feral hogs, during deer season.