Hog Hunting Season is On in Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area

by Jon D. B.

Want to hunt wild hogs and help eradicate this wildly destructive invasive species? Now’s your chance in Tennessee’s Big South Fork.

Get ready, Outsiders, it’s almost hog hunting time in Tennessee. As of September 3, deer hunting season is already open in the Kentucky portion of the national recreation area. And come September 24, the Tennessee side of the park will begin deer hunting season. This is important as these big game seasons also allow for the harvesting of wild hogs.

According to the National Park Service, wild hogs can be hunted “with the appropriate weapon that is legal for that specific season and during an extended hog hunting season,” and “with a weapon that is approved by that state for harvesting big game.”

To clarify, this means wild hogs may be hunted at Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area from mid-September through the end of February each year, in both Tennessee and Kentucky. Use of a weapon to hunt hogs is consistent with state regulations during specific seasons.

As for state-approved hog-hunting weapons, those are:

  • Archery season: a hog hunter can hunt with a bow or crossbow
  • Muzzleloader season: you can hunt with a muzzleloader, crossbow or bow
  • Rifle season: you can hunt with a bow, crossbow, muzzleloader, rifle, shotgun or pistol.
  • Extended hog season you can hunt hogs with anything as long as it is legal for harvesting a deer

Certain exceptions do apply, however. Read on for more information straight from NPS, including links to what you’ll need to hunt.

Where & How to Hunt Hogs in Big South Fork NRRA

While Big South Fork spans both Tennessee and Kentucky, hog hunting is only recommended in the TN portion of the park. Occasional individual hog or tracks are sighted in Kentucky, sure. But the park’s current research and knowledge points to no known wild hog populations on the Kentucky side of Big South Fork NRRA.

As a result, park officials recommend the Tennessee side of the park for those wishing to hunt wild hogs. To do so, you’ll need a $5 hog hunting permit. These can be purchased online at the following links:

Please note, a valid state hunting license is also required to purchase the hog permit. But once both are in place, there is no limit on the number of hogs that may be harvested, and they are not required to be checked in.

This is because the wild hog is an incredibly destructive invasive exotic species.

Why You Should Hunt Wild Hogs

As the park states, wild hogs have a “significant negative impact to native species and do a great deal of damage to farmlands and residential areas.”

The damage the species causes threatens Big South Fork park resources every year, including federally listed plants. In fact, wild hogs are considered one of the most damaging invasive species on the planet. These feral pigs, descendants of once-escaped domestic pigs, uproot soil on an unprecedented scale (equal to human plowing).

Wild hogs, or feral swine, are known by many names. These include wild boar, wild hog, razorback, piney woods rooter, and Russian or Eurasian boar. No matter the name, they’re a big problem, and Tennessee needs hunters harvesting them.

For more information on hog permits, contact Big South Fork’s Bandy Creek Visitor Center at (423) 569-9778.

Happy Hunting, Outsiders!