It's no coincidence that land managers who devote their time and dollars to improving their properties for deer populations also end up seeing many more hogs.

The two species eat many of the same things, and hogs are infinitely more aggressive than deer.

"Deer won't hang out with hogs," Jim LaCour said. "When a hog shows up, the deer leave."

In addition to that, hogs carry pseudorabies, which is contagious to all mammals other than humans. The disease causes spontaneous abortions in sows, and even the aborted fetuses are infected, LaCour said. The disease is spread through saliva.

"It's feasible that deer could catch it by feeding in an area where hogs had just fed," LaCour said.

About 2 percent of hogs statewide are infected with pseudorabies, but Concordia Parish seems to be a hotbed. As much as 50 percent of the hog population there is infected, LaCour said.

Hogs also carry swine brucellosis, which is contagious to humans.

"We get four or five cases (in humans) every year in Louisiana," LaCour said. "If a hog is infected, and you cut yourself while you're cleaning it, you could get it."

The disease causes undulate fever and orchitis, which is a swelling of the testicles.

"Although you may look good at the beach, it is not good to have," LaCour said. "You could be affected your entire life."

Just like with pseudorabies, about 2 percent of Louisiana's hogs are infected with brucellosis, which is a venereal disease among the hog population. However, in the Ville Platte area, 20 to 50 percent of the hogs are infected.

Whenever handling wild hogs, it is essential to wear rubber gloves, LaCour said. Hunters should also refrain from eating, drinking or using tobacco products while dressing the pigs or while handling the meat.

Fortunately, both diseases are killed when the meat is heated to 165 degrees, LaCour said.

Editor's note: This article is part of the High on the Hogs feature in the July issue of Louisiana Sportsman. Digital editions can be downloaded right to your computer or smartphone.

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