Saskatchewan regulations have been changed to allow hunters to hunt feral or free-ranging wild boar without a licence.
More than 60 rural municipalities have reported wild boar at large, and they have become a particular problem in the Moose Mountain area around Kenosee Lake.
Teams of specialized hunters have been trying to control the population for years. Now the government has lifted the licence requirement in a bid to help producers protect livestock, property and people.
Hunters are still required to ask permission to hunt on private property and follow all other hunting laws.
Amendments to both the wildlife regulations and the stray animal regulations should result in better control, said agriculture minister Lyle Stewart.
Local RMs that administered the stray animal regulations are no longer responsible to capture and contain wild boar.
“The move to regulate escaped wild boar as exotic wildlife instead of stray livestock enables landowners and producers to better protect their livestock, crops and pasture,” Stewart said.
The province said stricter fencing requirements for farmed wild boar should help reduce the number that escape.
There is also a feral wild boar control program administered by Sask-atchewan Crop Insurance Corp. Under that program, landowners can contact local crop insurance offices when boar are sighted and the corporation will organize a hunt.
Wild boar were introduced from Asia and Europe as domestic livestock but some escaped and have successfully thrived in wild areas.
They are notoriously tough with few predators and strong reproductive capability.
Sows can produce four to 12 piglets per litter and can have two litters per year.
They cause extensive damage to crops, wildlife habitat and other areas as they root up ground while foraging for food.
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities said it was pleased with the changes.
“We need to make sure their population is kept under control and are hopeful these regulatory changes will achieve that,” said SARM president Ray Orb.
Saskatchewan’s agriculture ministry said there is no particular map of where hunters could find wild boar, although southeastern Saskatchewan has been a hot spot.
“These amendments are not intended to create a new hunting opportunity, but to remove regulatory road blocks to better enable hunters to take part in controlling this invasive species,” the ministry said.
Anyone interested in hunting wild boar should contact local RM offices or conservation officers.