Thibaut says HB 288 is a way to reduce the spread of wild pigs across the state
A bill that would require a permit from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to transport live feral hogs goes before the House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment in Baton Rouge next week.
HB 288, sponsored by Rep. Major Thibaut — who represents District 18 including parts of Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge, Iberville and West Feliciana parishes — also prohibits importing a feral hog into the state, as well releasing a live wild hog.
The bill is set to be heard Wednesday, May 6, at 9 a.m. in Committee Room 4 at the State Capitol.
“I don’t think that its a silver bullet by any means. As everyone is aware, we do have a hog problem that’s only getting worse,” Thibaut said. “And I think this is one way that we can help reduce the further spread of these hogs.
“It also enables us to have the ability to track where hogs are being transported.”
He stressed that the legislation, which has the support of the Louisiana Quality Deer Management Association, the Association of Levee Boards of Louisiana, the Louisiana Landowners Association and others, does not prohibit transporting wild hogs altogether — but would require a permit to do so if the legislation ultimately passes.
“If someone wants to catch one and take one home and feed it or what have you, they can still transport a live hog, it would just have to be by permit. The way I envision it is it would be an easy process to obtain a permit, whether it would be available by phone, Internet or mail — something very easy with access 24 hours a day,” he said. “I don’t want to create any burden on hunters or anybody out there who is trying to help us eliminate our hog problem.
“So I envision it to be an easy process, but possibly with a fine if you don’t go through that process.”
Rebecca Triche, the executive director of the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, said her organization also supports the bill.
“The movement and release of feral hogs is contributing to their expansion around the state, and their overall increase in population,” she said. “It’s an aspect of the growing feral hog population problem than can be addressed.
“We hear from deer hunters increasingly that when they see more hogs on a lease, they see less deer. So we’ve got to get some controls on it, and this is one measure that would do that.”
Biologists cite illegally-released feral hogs as contributing to the state’s overpopulation problem, she said.
“So a new population gets established in an area, and a sow has two litters, and a couple of sows in those litters have litters of their own the next year, and suddenly you have a problem,” Triche said. “It just keeps growing.”
Current language in the bill indicates an initial violation could result in a fine between $100 and $350, while a second offense would result in a $300 to $550 fine, with a third offense costing between $500 and $750 dollars. Jail time is also a possibility with each offense, according to the text of the bill.
Thibaut said he’s heard of some opposition from those who like to hog hunt with dogs, as well as questions about if LDWF would limit the number of permits it grants to transport hogs.
“That’s something we don’t want to happen,” he said. “We need everybody out there willing to help, so I don’t see a limit being put on the amount of permits being issued. I think the biggest opposition to the bill is what are the details. It’s very broad at this point.
“I think we’ll kind of work through what that permit process might encompass.”
Three other bills relating to hogs are also set to be heard by the same committee next Wednesday: HB 51 by Rep. Frank Howard would provide for a bounty on feral hogs, HB 167 by Rep. Richard Burford would allow year-round nighttime hog hunting on private property and HB 306 by Rep. Katrina Jackson would allow you to hunt outlaw quadrupeds without having to purchase a hunting license.