Feral hogs a growing problem in Missouri

Posted at 1:23 PM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 23:06:35-05

The feral hog population is growing in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation have partnered with other conservation groups and agricultural organizations to control this problem and educate the public.

Organizations Partnered with MDC and MCHF

  • Missouri Farm Bureau
  • Missouri Corn Growers Association
  • Missouri Soybean Association
  • Missouri Cattlemen’s Association
  • MFA
  • Missouri Pork Association
  • Missouri Agribusiness
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Quality Deer Management Association
  • Quail Forever
  • Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation

The MDC said in a news release that the total amount of funds raised was $53,600 in cash and $23,000 in-kind, which includes costs incurred for the organizations to produce feral hog media efforts for public education.

Officials with the MDC said they are getting more request from landowners asking for help.

What are feral hogs?
Any hog (including Russian and European boar) without identification that roams freely on public or private land without the permission from landowner. Basically, these are wild hogs that do not belong in the wild.

These destructive feral hogs pollute a spring on private property in Ozark County.(Photo: Missouri Department of Conservation)

Right now, the MDC is working with private land owners to set traps to catch the feral hogs.

Bill Graham with the MDC said the Kansas City region does not have a trapping center, and the nearest is almost two hours away.

The southeast Ozark region of Missouri has the biggest feral hog problem, but populations have been observed in 30 counties. Feral hog populations are usually found in remote and rugged terrain, which means they can be difficult to locate.

Why are they a problem?

  • Destructive to habitat: Hogs like to wallow. This can damage agricultural areas and destroy sensitive things in nature like glades and springs.
  • Danger to young wildlife: They eat  — a lot. Feasting on foods like acorns puts them in direct competition with native animals. Feral hogs are also known to eat eggs, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals such as fawns. 
  • Spread diseases: Feral hogs have diseases that are not present in the domestic hog population. If the domestic population is reintroduced to the diseases by feral hogs, it can be harmful to the industry. Swine brucellosis and pseudorabies have both been documented in feral hogs in Missouri, and both can affect humans and domestic animals. 

MDC Agriculture Liaison Brent Vandeloecht said 70 percent of the feral hog population needs to be removed yearly to keep populations of feral hogs from increasing.

Releasing hogs into the wild is illegal, and the MDC discourages hunting of feral hogs. If you spot one, report it to Operation Game Thief at 1-800-392-1111.

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