Are wild pigs an invasive species? State wildlife biologists in Michigan think so, and want to label them as such. But that doesn’t sit well with state outfitters who offer pig hunts.

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_The war on pigs in Michigan is about to get heated. State wildlife biologists are about to propose that feral swine be listed as an “invasive species.” Doing so will mean it will be illegal to possess them in Michigan. That means several dozen elk and deer hunting ranches offering pig hunts will not be able to do so anymore. Nor will an undetermined number of hunting preserves that only offer pig hunts.

__”We don’t know how many places offer pig hunts,” said Russ Mason, the state’s wildlife chief. “We know of 40 to 50 operations that do, and only because they have deer or elk (and have to report them). But there are no regulations governing pigs or fencing requirements or reporting requirements.” And so the proposal is going to the Natural Resources Commission for information this month. It will come up for action again in September.

The issue with wild pigs is they carry diseases. The Michigan pork producers are supporting the move, Mason said. Wild pigs also cause environmental damage and crop damage. They can ruin good habitat and cause serious problems for other wildlife such as deer or even game birds such as pheasant, roughed grouse and wild turkey. Mason said his agency has studied the critter. It’s not enough to allow people to shoot them at will._

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