Reproductive Biology of European Wild Hogs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Based on 162 European wild hogs (Sus scrota) collected from 1971 to 1973 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the male: female ratio was 52: 48 and the age composition consisted of 52% of the hogs being <12 months, 21% 12-26 months, and 27% >26 months of age. No sex difference in collection by trapping and shooting occurred (0.1

26 months old were more likely to be shot (75.0%) than trapped (25.0%) (P < 0.005). Males attained puberty in 7 to 12 months and females in 5 - 8 months; both were physiologically capable of breeding year-round. Farrowing activity occurred year-round, but peaks occurred in late fallearly winter and late spring-early summer. Collection of 2 pregnant females accompanied by young 5 to 8 months old suggested the possibility of 2 litters per year following good mast yields. Litter sizes based on fetal counts (3.0), trapped litters (2.8), litters observed in the field (3.5), and the number of lactating teats (3.8) averaged 3.3 and ranged from 1-5. The high reproductive potential and lack of effective control techniques for hogs indicated that range expansions both through transplants and dispersal should be discouraged. A comprehensive, regional policy and management plan, agreed upon by natural resource scientists, would facilitate proper management and minimize public and professional conflicts concerning hogs.

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