published Thursday, December 19th, 2013

East Tennessee counties want hog hunting season

SWEETWATER, Tenn. — At least five counties in East Tennessee are asking state officials to loosen regulations on hunting feral hogs.

WBIR-TV reports Monroe, Bradley, Polk, White and McMinn counties have passed resolutions asking for the change.

The resolutions ask the state to fully restore a "dedicated season" to hunting feral hogs on wildlife management areas. They also advocate allowing private property owners to use dogs to hunt feral hogs.

There are currently only four counties in the state where hunters can get a license to hunt hogs with dogs.

Wayne Rutherford, who sits on McMinn County's Wildlife and Fisheries Committee, said some southeast Tennessee counties have been financially hurt by the absence of a hog season.

"Because the hunt has went away, there have been hunters who go to other states to hunt," Rutherford said.

He added that dogs are an essential part of the hunt.

"Wild hogs are not killed easily without dogs," he said.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency program manager Kirk Miles said the agency would consider the resolutions.

"Yes, it is something we would definitely take a look at," Miles said, but added that the agency wouldn't do anything that could lead to more feral hogs in the region.

"All these issues surrounding wild hogs, ultimately makes it a complicated issue to grasp," Miles said.

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