Feral hogs a problem in South Carolina

To the chagrin of landscapers, farmers and golfers across the Lowcountry, there may be no slowing the state's booming wild hog population, experts say.

The Palmetto State is home to the nation's sixth-largest population of wild hogs, many of which are hybrids of domestic pigs released into the wild and Eurasian wild boars released by hunters in the early 1900s.

South Carolina has 90,000 to 280,000 wild hogs, according to Jack Mayer, a feral-swine expert at the Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken. Mayer said the population estimates are so varied because the pigs often live in dense forests and isolation, making them difficult to count.

"We don't have a good handle on the actual population," he said. "We say that there are 2 to 6 million wild hogs nationally. That's a pretty big spread. The truth is that we don't really know how many of them there are."

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