Wild hogs used to be a nuisance in the Southeast, in some areas they became a problem, but along the Congaree River in South Carolina they have become an outright menace to crop production.

The Congaree flows through some of South Carolina’s most productive farmland. It is a short, but wide river, flowing for only 47 miles. The river’s short and wide dimensions create a large swampy area that has proven ideal for wild pigs to thrive.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has deemed wild hogs in the state to be an "ecological disaster" and the destructive nature of this invasive species easily lends itself to such a description.

During the last year, the South Carolina DNR has made an effort to provide increased information on wild hogs in the state by participating in several workshops with Clemson University Extension and other agencies. The information is good, farmers say, but the answer to the crop destructive nature of these animals is yet to be found.

Calhoun County, S.C., farmer Kent Wannamaker is near the epicenter of wild pigs along the Congaree. Once a top hog producer in South Carolina, Wannamaker says these pigs are sometimes a blend of wild hogs and hogs that were once domesticated.

“The majority of the wild pigs we see are a mixture of wild hogs that were released along the Congaree River and domesticated hogs that got loose or were set loose and bred into the wild herds. We have trapped a few that are mostly white, so it’s pretty clear these animals came from Yorkshire hogs raised by farmers,” the South Carolina grower says.

Wild pigs have been present in coastal South Carolina since they were released by the Spanish in the 1500s. Their historic range was primarily limited to floodplains of the major river systems. In the 1980s wild pigs were found in only 26 counties, with the distribution generally resembling their historic range in the coastal plain.