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A sounder of wild pigs roams in Saskatchewan, Canada. The photo shows mature females and their litters of various ages feeding on harvested crop residue.

The “Wild Pig Symposium on the Border” will be held Friday, Oct. 18, at 6 p.m. at the Legion Hall in Sweet Grass. Farmers, ranchers, hunters, any landowner, Border Patrol agents and anyone else interested is encouraged to attend. 

While we haven’t experienced the extensive damage feral pig or wild boars can cause here in Montana, this could change rapidly without vigilance on the part of farmers and ranchers.

The speaker line up for the evening includes Ryan Brook, head of Saskatchewan Wild Boar Project; and Bob Brickley, rancher and chair of the Moose Mountain Wild Boar Eradication Team; Dale Nolte, National Feral Swine Initiative Coordinator for the USDA, APHIS, based out of Fort Collins, Colo.; along with John Steuber, Montana Director Wildlife Services; and Tahnee Szymanski, Assistant Montana State Veterinarian. 

Wild boars or feral swine are rapidly expanding in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. This invasive species population is exploding and is closer to Montana’s northern border every year. There is no national or provincial eradication or management plan for Saskatchewan and while Alberta is working to control the population, they are not successful. 

The possibility of a Feral swine introduction into Montana comes from both borders. The northern border being overrun with the uncontrolled population of Canadian feral swine or the real threat of people introducing southern wild swine via trailer and release onto the Montana landscape for the enjoyment of hog hunting. Either method of introduction could drastically change both agriculture and hunting in the state.

Sponsors of the Symposium include Montana WIFE, Front Range Farm Bureau, Marias River Livestock Association and Montana Woolgrowers. 

Feral swine cost over $1.5 billion a year in the U.S. in damage and management. An incident in 2013 where Eurasian boars were brought to Montana triggered legislation that was passed in 2015. 

The state took a firm stance in passing a law to help prevent the introduction of feral swine. The law prohibits the transporting, possession and hunting of feral swine and set a $2,000 minimum fine for anyone caught doing so. 

While landowners can kill feral swine on their property if they pose a threat of harm to people or property, no profit can be gained by hunting, trapping or feeding the swine. 

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