I got involve with the NPS on pigs back in the early 1970s when Dr. Susan Braxton was compiling early data on these exotics. She told me then at you could never find a more perfect habitat for Eurasian wild pigs that the Southern Appalachian Mountains, and particularly the GSMNP. She’s been gone from park since the mid-1980s, but it was her research that determined that best way to curb pig numbers in the GSMNP was to understand on what, and where these animals fed at various times of the year.
It did not get a lot of publicity, but the NPS hired a bunch of professional hunter who were allowed roam throughout the park at night shooting the droppings out of as many porkers as they could find. Using Braxton’s meticulous research they coordinated annual hard and soft mast production to go right in a night and shoot them up. Insofar as I see a lot lest rooting damage these days as during the 1980s, I tend to think the shooting may still be going on.
Wild hogs are extremely difficult to manage. When food is plentiful the pigs will raise large liters as often as two to three times a year. When hardwood mast failures occur, pig numbers naturally drop. The bear hunters I talked to this fall were upset that that the hardwood mast crop in the GSMNP was so terrific that the usual number of bears in the park that venture out to pillage did not do that this year as they normally do. I would suspect the pigs are currently in a prolific mode.