The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has scheduled three hog hunts for North Island in Georgetown County next month in an effort to remove and eliminate feral hogs from the barrier island.

The hunts, which will be for hunters with dogs, will be held Feb. 12-14, 19-21 and 26-28 from sunrise to sunset. North Island, which contains more than 3,100 acres of uplands and marsh, will be accessible only by boat across Winyah Bay.

Although feral hog numbers are down on North Island, they continue to cause damage to the environment.

"Feral hogs have continued to cause destruction to the landscape and native plants, jeopardizing the nesting success of ground-nesting birds and sea turtle nests scattered along the beaches of this barrier island," said Jamie Dozier, a biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. 

Hunters must comply with the following guidelines in order to participate in the North Island hog hunts with dogs:

   * No more than four bay or catch dogs per party;

   * No still or stalk hunting is allowed;

   * One shotgun permitted per party (buckshot only); sidearms will also be permitted;

   * Hog hunters must have in their possession a valid South Carolina hunting license;

   * All hunters are required to wear a hat, coat, or vest of solid international orange while hunting;

   * Hogs may not be removed from North Island alive.

Hunters are also reminded the North Island lighthouse grounds are off limits.  Do not enter the buildings or area immediately surrounding the lighthouse.

The staff at USDA Wildlife Services would like to collect information about the number of hogs removed.  Hunters should call their toll- free phone number (1-866-4USDAWS, ext. 12) to report any hogs harvested. SCDNR staff will also periodically be on site to collect pertinent information.

For more information contact the Yawkey Wildlife Center at 843-546-6814.