For Immediate Release: April 16, 2012
Sen. Josh Brecheen
Judas Pig Tagging System bill signed into law
A measure to help eradicate feral hogs, one of Oklahoma's
greatest agricultural nuisances, has been signed into law. Senate
Bill 1751, authored by Sen. Josh
Brecheen and Rep. Don
Armes, would authorize citizens to use an electronic tracking
device while employing the services of a "Judas pig"
to help locate and capture or kill entire herds of feral swine.
"Feral hogs cost Oklahoma farmers and ranchers millions of
dollars each year. They root up hay fields, crops and fences,
plunder creep feeders and silos and spread diseases among livestock,"
said Brecheen, R-Coalgate. "Farmers, ranchers, hunters and
trappers should be allowed to use any legal means possible to
combat the problem and this bill provides one more option. Electronic
tracking systems can pinpoint the location of feral hog herds
often hidden among dense forests and thick brush and will lead
to effective hunts and better positioning of live traps."
The Judas pig tagging system is a population control technique
where a radio-collared feral swine, the "Judas pig",
is released into an area for the purpose of being tracked until
it joins other feral swine. Through use of the monitoring devices,
the Judas pig will reveal the herd's position or pattern so they
can all be removed.
Brecheen noted that under current Oklahoma law feral swine cannot
be released once captured so passage of SB1751 was necessary to
allow for an exception to the law for those using the Judas pig
Under SB 1751, the electronically-monitored feral hog must be
released on the same property from which it was caught and within
24 hours of its capture. The collared swine will be allowed to
return to an active state after capture thereby not changing any
dynamic other than being collared. A change of the animal's physical
location (e.g. release of feral swine onto someone else's property)
will remain unlawful. SB 1751 also ensures that an installed electronic
monitoring device will not indicate ownership of the feral hog
thus protecting the owner of the collar/tracking device from liability
of the animal’s actions.
"This is an evasive animal that has the ability to reproduce
very rapidly. Pigs have a short gestation period of three months,
three weeks and three days and they are litter bearing animals
so the problem has compounded quickly,” said Armes, R-Faxon.
“We need to provide our agriculture community with tools
such as the Judas pig tagging system to help them protect their
property from these destructive animals."
According to Wildlife Services, there are approximately five million
feral hogs across the country. Historically, there are no accurate
accounts of the feral hog population in Oklahoma due to their
secretive nature. The most recent account of feral hog numbers
and distribution in Oklahoma was conducted in the summer of 2007
by the Noble Foundation wildlife and fisheries staff. The foundation
found that feral hogs were present in all but three Oklahoma counties.
Authorities believe feral hogs are now in all 77 Oklahoma counties.
Based on the various state agency survey responses in 2007, it
was estimated that the feral hog population at the time was between
617,000 and 1.4 million.
The new law will go into effect November 1, 2012.