AUGUSTA, Ga.--Hunters in our area are going 'hog wild' lately thanks to the pig population. The number of wild boars has exploded in the past few years, both nationwide, and in our area.
Dan Eaton traps animals for a living, but this year he's been trapping a lot more wild hogs than usual.
He says, "We've had a good number of calls this year, gosh, probably 20% more calls this year than last."
He says he's caught up to 350 pound boars in the area, not something you would want in your backyard.
He says, "They tear property up, they'll come and just decimate your whole property, run your deer out, they're just a nuisance."
Jack Mayer is a research scientist and manager at the Savannah River National Laboratory. He's been researching wild hogs for 40 years. He says, "They eat our crops, they root up our front yards, they prey on livestock and wild game, they compete with wild game, they run into our vehicles, they even attack people."
And he says, the pig problem is getting worse in our area, along with the rest of the country.
"There's been a growing national crisis of wild pigs in this country," he said.
In 1990, there were an estimated 1-2 million wild pigs nationwide. Now, experts estimate that number has more than doubled to somewhere between 3-8 million wild pigs.
Mayer says, "These animals are the ultimate survivors. They can live just about anywhere, they can eat just about anything, there are no real natural predators that keep their numbers in check."
No natural predators, but they're pretty much free game for hunters. You can hunt them day or night, even set bait traps for them depending on city ordinances, but experts say, hunting only puts a dent in the population.
"They reproduce faster than any other mammals their size or larger, there's really nothing else like them," Mayer says.
Experts also say, it's a problem that's going to get worse before it gets better.
"Unfortunately, as far as a tool or an option that we have to keep the numbers of these animals in check, there really isnt an option right now. We really don't have that silver bullet," Mayer said.
Wild pigs have been reported in every county in South Carolina and 151 out 159 counties in Georgia. If you aren't used to dealing with the pests, experts say not to approach them, they are aggressive animals and can be very dangerous. It's best to call a professional to remove them.