Missouri Slowly Winning Feral Hog Battle
August 10, 2016
Editorial Staff (286 articles)
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Missouri Slowly Winning Feral Hog Battle

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports it and its partners are seeing the benefits of grant funds designated to help fight invasive feral hogs. Paired with recent banning of hog hunting on conservation areas, this marks progress in the fight, says John Burk, a regional wildlife biologist with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF).

Burk and a group of representatives of organizations partnered in the feral hog fight recently watched new trapping equipment in action.
“A frustrated landowner, who’d experienced significant damage to his bean and hay fields, was able to benefit from a new remotely operated Boar Buster feral hog trap,” Burk said. “The trap was deployed and within four hours, 11 hogs were captured and removed from his land.”

Tony Jaco, MDC’s private lands regional supervisor for the southeast region, said the partnership with other agencies, and the assistance available to private landowners is key to success.
“Over 90 percent of Missouri land is privately owned, which is why it’s vital we work with private landowners, as well as other wildlife organizations, to help get hogs off the whole landscape,” Jaco said. “Win or lose, we’re in this together and we have to win for the sake of our native wildlife resources.”

Feral hogs are a destructive invasive species that has expanded its range into Missouri in recent years. According to Burk, this expansion is partially due to the behavior and biology of the animal and the rugged and remote nature of the Ozark landscape. However, expansion has also come about as a result of misguided efforts of those wanting hog populations to grow and assisting their dispersal and expansion by trapping and relocating them.

“It is also our responsibility as conservationists to educate as many as we can about the real threat that feral hogs pose to our natural systems and native plants and animals,” Burk said. “The recent regulations to ban hog hunting on MDC owned lands is a necessary step in trying to get feral hog populations under control before it is too late.”

At its meeting on June 24, the Missouri Conservation Commission approved changes to the Wildlife Code of Missouri prohibiting hunting of feral hogs on conservation areas and other lands owned, leased, or managed by MDC. The new regulation does not apply to private property. Burk added these regulations are based on sound science and a desire to facilitate and provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about their natural resources.

“The goal is not to manage feral hog populations, it’s to eliminate them,” Burk said. “To have the greatest chance of accomplishing this goal, a variety of nontraditional techniques need to be implemented.”
Different kinds of traps and trapping techniques combined with night vision technology, aerial gunning, and others are necessary to have a measurable impact on the growing menace, he said.

“Hunting feral hogs gets a few here and there, but hogs respond quickly and negatively to hunting pressure and this often gets in the way of trapping,” Burk explained. “Trapping is better because it removes entire sounders, not just one or two hogs.”

Organizations partnered with the MDC include: NWTF, Quail Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Agribusiness Association, Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, Missouri Farm Bureau, and Missouri Farmers Association.—courtesy MDC via Outdoor Wire

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