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Animal Industry Board Considers Permitting Domesticated Red River Hogs

Among the items on the Animal Industry Board’s Monday, March 20 agenda is a “proposal for changes to captive nondomestic mammal possession rules to allow for possession of nondomestic swine.”

Hang on: if one possesses a “non-domestic” critter, is the critter not “domestic”?

Red river hog
Red river hog

The non-domestic swine up for Animal Industry Board discussion appear to be red river hogs—potamochoerus porcus. That’s not “Red River” as in going to Fargo and Grand Forks; that’s “red” as in fur color and “river” as in where these wild hogs like to hang out. These sometime-agricultural pests are native to tropical Africa.

According to the AIB’s Nomvember 29, 2016, minutes, Randy Krueger of Pukwana, producer of “alternative livestock” at Spectrum Ranch, has purchased a couple of “Red River Forest Hogs.” His hogs are currently at a Minnesota zoo, but he’d like to bring them to South Dakota. Alas, ARSD 12:68:18:03.01 forbids possession of non-domesticated members of the family Suidae, including Krueger’s two potamochoerus porcuses (hey, biologists—am I allowed the pleasure of saying potamochoeri porci?), except by temporary permit or zoo permit. The temporary permit is good for only 14 days; the zoo permit is available only to non-profit critter exhibitors. Krueger would like to be able to bring his red river hogs to his for-profit operation.

Whatever rule changes the AIB drafts for Krueger, they’ll likely include at least an admonishment to build a good fence around those not-so-little piggies. Nobody wants wild hogs going really wild: descendants of domestic swine and imported wild Eurasian boars cause $1.5 billion in damage and control costs in the U.S. In South Carolina, wild hogs cause $44 million in crop, livestock, and timber losses and $71 million in non-crop damage per year. The most recent articles I can find say wild hogs aren’t a problem in South Dakota, although their habitat has expanded to more states and Canada. A January 2017 study finds that, thanks to climate change, invasive wild pigs could spread to most U.S. counties within three to five decades.


  1. mike from iowa 2017-03-16 11:20

    Canada has huntable numbers of wild boar. They look like Russians. They can thrive in extreme cold-see Siberia.

    I guess not everyone in South Dakota is against allowing immigrants to settle.

  2. jerry 2017-03-16 12:29

    All through the south, these wild boars destroy habitat for nesting ducks and geese, among a few of the species that are challenged by these critters. Some of those feral hogs weigh several hundred pounds so when you are out and about, you better be packing an AR-15 and know how to aim, cause they don’t play.

    These hogs will get out, they always do.

  3. Roger Elgersma 2017-03-16 12:29

    This hog will not improve the profitability of pork production. I have raised a few thousand hogs myself and this one has to little meat, not good enough feet for concrete, not long enough, etc. If it is only good at surviving in the wild, it would cause much more harm than good if a few got loose.

  4. Rorschach 2017-03-16 12:45

    South Dakota’s next invasive species. Accidentally or on purpose, these critters will escape and colonize South Dakota. Just a matter of time before we have weird-looking piggies rampaging wild here. Commercial hunting interests probably want this to happen so we can have a hog season here.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-03-16 12:52

    Roger E, the scant information available in the minutes do not indicate whether Krueger intends to breed and sell these critters for pork production.

    How does hunting wild hogs compare to hunting deer or other mammals? Are these shorter creatures harder to spot and shoot? They aren’t as fast as deer, are they?

  6. mike from iowa 2017-03-16 13:02

    Hogs are much more prolific breeders, they eat just about anything-including young animals and birds, they destroy vegetation and root up fields, foul waterholes, etc.

    They are considered vermin w/o bag limits in many states. They carry and transmit diseases. Some people claim the young ones are delicious. They have a tough hide over the neck and shoulders making some smaller caliber guns an iffy choice to shoot them with, They are tenacious and dangerous with better tusks than many surviving African elephants and they aren’t just for show. They can run like the wind for short distances.

  7. Nick Nemec 2017-03-16 16:06

    I can see no good reason to allow the importation of this invasive species into the state. The potential for damage is huge and the potential for benefit is tiny.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-03-16 17:52

    Nick, could rules be crafted to allow a limited number of permits for a limited number of wild hogs—say, only five permits, two hogs per permit holder? Or a geographical limit—say, only one permit per county, or no permits issued in contiguous counties?

    How many of these hogs would have to get loose to create a real ecological problem? Would one male and one female be enough to breed a viable and destructive herd?

  9. Rorschach 2017-03-16 18:22

    Guy in Florida had a permit to have a highly venomous cobra. Permit required it to be kept in an escape-proof room. Needless to say, it escaped. Weird foreign piggy will escape, and it will breed with whatever kind of piggy it can find and make hybrid weird wild piggies – just like piggies do in the southern states. Some will wander near uranium mines and become giant irradiated piggies which will glow in the dark and keep grudz up at night.

  10. John W. 2017-03-18 17:25

    The South Dakota Animal Industry Board has been overly friendly and unreasonably cooperative with private producers wanting to import all sorts of exotic and wild domesticated stock that have ALWAYS resulted in problems. They leaped on the idea of importing domesticated wild elk and we now have CWD spread into 5 counties west river as a result. There are more examples. Rather than say, no way Jose’, due to risks to wildlife and the environment, they just come up with all sorts of excuses and propositions to allow this stuff and then the state and other landowners suffer the consequences several years later. AIB has no consistent, viable, inspection or verification process that provides regulatory oversight on this type of stuff to prevent problems. They just try to react to the problem after it’s gotten out of hand. The AIB seems to think that this sort of “alternative agriculture” is good for the state but I’ll challenge anyone to come up with a circumstance or a species that will demonstrate the notion. In every case where something like this causes a problem, it costs the ag and taxpaying community a bunch to try and put the cat back in the bag and they haven’t been completely successful yet. There is a reason people want to get rid of this stuff. Sadly, there is somebody standing in line thinking they can do a better job of preventing the problem. That is what we thought with bird flu! Anybody remember the issue with wolves and other non-indigenous species in a zoo in Deadwood. Who pays when those pie in the sky enterprises go sour???? Anybody honestly think we’re done with that????? Not only no but heck no!

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