Introduction

Wild pigs are well established throughout New Zealand.

Find out about feral pigs (Sus scrofa)

Description

Size: Smaller than domestic pigs with more muscular bodies and males especially having massive forequarters and smaller hindquarters. Males stand nearly 1000 mm at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 45 - 205 kg with females smaller at 600 mm high and weighing up to 114 kg.

Colour: Most commonly black but there is considerable local variation in colour with ginger, sandy brown, white, grey and smoky blue, or combinations of these colours.

Tusks: Extend out from the lower jaw and curve upwards, outward and backwards. Triangular in cross section the tusks can protrude 150 mm plus.

Social behaviour: Mainly active in daylight although where subjected to hunting pressure may become more nocturnal or restrict their activity to early morning and late afternoon. Relatively sedentary feral pigs, where food, water and cover are suitable, will occupy home range areas in mobs of both sexes. Females with litters and older males will often live alone.

Feral pigs are omnivorous, eating a wide variety of food including grasses, roots, seeds and other plant material as well as carrion, earthworms and insects.

Reproduction: Feral pigs breed throughout the year with main time spring and summer. Litter size is 6-10 piglets with survival likely to be 3-6. Newborn piglets stay within or near the nest for first 2-3 weeks, weaning occurs at 2-4 months and young pigs stay with the sow until the next litter is due.

Gestation period: About 112-114 days.

Birthing: Throughout the year, mainly spring and summer.

Nomenclature: Male = boar. Females = sow. Young = piglet.

Where to hunt feral pigs

In New Zealand feral pigs are found in the North and South Islands as well as Great Barrier and Chatham Islands. For details contact the DOC office nearest the hunting area.

North Island

Feral pigs occur in many areas throughout the North Island with larger populations in:

  • Northland: Numerous forest blocks containing low to moderate numbers of pigs.
  • Waikato/Hauraki

Note: When hunting in Northland/Wakato/Hauraki undertake prevention measures to prevent the spread of kauri dieback (PTA).

  • Taupo/Bay of Plenty: Large forest blocks both native and privately owned exotic forest.
  • Wanganui: Large areas of forest and regenerating scrub country.

South Island

Less widespread than in the North Island larger populations occur in:

  • Nelson: Scrub country adjacent to native forests. Large private exotic forests.
  • Marlbourugh: Regenerating scrub country and exotic forest blocks.
  • North Canterbury
  • Otago
  • Catlins: Native forests and adjacent scrub land.

Great Barrier Island

There are two hunting blocks available on Great Barrier Island both holding low numbers of pigs.

For more information about permits, dog use, kauri dieback disease prevention, contact DOC:

Aotea / Great Barrier Island Base
Phone:   09 429 0044
Email:   greatbarrier@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Okiwi Station
1501 Aotea Road
Okiwi
Great Barrier Island 0962
Full office details
 

Chatham Island

There is very little public conservation land on Chatham Island available for hunting with most occurring on private property.

For more information contact:

Rekohu / Wharekauri / Chatham Island Office
Phone:   +64 3 305 0098
Email:   chathamislands@doc.govt.nz
Address:   North Rd
Te One
Chatham Island
Full office details
 

For private property hunting opportunities look up 'Hunting in the Chathams' on the internet.

Tips for hunting feral pigs

Characteristics/behaviour

Hunting response

Boars especially have thick skin with gristly shoulder shields up to 90 mm thick.

Rifle calibres should have maximum hitting power with .270 and above recommended.

Pigs have relatively poor eyesight but both acute hearing and smell.

Hunt upwind towards pigs keeping as quiet as possible, avoiding noisy vegetation etc.

During summer especially, pigs are active late evening and early morning.

Time hunting to be in likely areas late evening and early morning when pigs are most active.

Pigs will often be out feeding when it is overcast and light rainfall.

On overcast wet days, check carefully for pigs out feeding in the open at any time of the day.

Hunting seasons and ballots

In New Zealand, there is no seasonal restriction to hunting feral pigs meaning generally they can be hunted throughout the year. There are however, instances where restrictions apply for specific reasons and periods when hunting is favoured.

There are opportunties to hunt wild pigs in New Zealand all year round but the winter months

Specific restrictions

  • Some areas may be closed during periods of high fire danger.
  • Occasionally an area may be closed on a temporary basis to enable research or other management to be undertaken without being compromised by hunting.

It is important to check for these conditions with the DOC office nearest the hunting area.

Favoured hunting periods

  • On overcast wet days check carefully for pigs out feeding in the open at any time of the day.

Hunting with dogs

Pig hunting with dogs is probably the most common method throughout New Zealand and hunters using dogs should be aware of the following.

  • If taking dogs onto public conservation land this needs to be recorded on the hunting permit.
  • In some areas dogs are not permitted.
  • Check that intended hunting area hasn't recently had pesticides applied.
  • For many areas where there are ground nesting birds, bird aversion training for dogs is mandatory with proof of training required.
  • Every effort should be made to recover lost dogs and informing local landowners or DOC may help.
  • To comply with animal welfare requirements, pigs at the 'bail' should be dispatched as quickly and humanly as possible.
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