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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Changes in wild pig depredation in California: a new law


In California, wild pigs occurred in relatively low numbers in 10 to 15 counties until the mid-1960s. Since then, wild pig numbers have increased, and they have expanded their range, primarily in coastal counties from Humboldt to Santa Barbara. Recent surveys indicate that wild pigs occur in at least 47 counties. In California, wild pigs are lawfully defined as game mammals. As such, no part of a wild pig that would normally be eaten by humans can be legally left to waste in the field. In December 1993, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted a new policy for wild pigs. The policy states: "The wild pig population of the state must be controlled to minimize the threat of increasing damage to California’s native plants and animals, to agricultural operations, and to park and recreational activities… [the Department] will recommend to the Commission regulations which enhance recreational hunting and facilitate the issuing of depredation permits and/or other legally available means to alleviate this problem." The new regulation allows the immediate taking of a depredating wild pig by the owner of livestock, land or property, or the owner’s agent or employee, or employee of any federal, state, county or city entity while acting officially. This change greatly expands the number of persons authorized to immediately kill wild pigs which are encountered while in the act of damaging livestock or damaging, destroying, or threatening to immediately damage or destroy land or other property. It also provides for more liberal disposition of the carcass of depredating wild pigs which are immediately killed.

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