Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership working to eliminate feral hogs from state

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Feral hogs have become a major problem in several Missouri counties.

This invasive, non-native species destroys habitats and young wildlife, competes directly with native species for food, and spreads diseases to people, pets, and livestock. The USDA estimates that feral hogs cause about $1.5 billion in damage and control costs in the United States each year.

Feral hogs have been found to carry as many as 24 different diseases, including tuberculosis, brucellosis, and hepatitis E.

The Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership, which was created in 2015, represents a number of government agencies and agricultural and outdoor groups with the intent to eliminate feral hogs from the state.

Staff from the partnership help hundreds of landowners trap and eliminate feral hogs each year. Through its trapping efforts, the partnership eliminated 9,857 feral hogs in 2021. This number is down from 12,635 in 2020, the most feral hogs the partnership has removed in a single year.

Several factors contribute to the feral hog problem. One is the feral hog’s breeding habits. A single sow could give birth to as many as a dozen piglets per year, which can destroy private farms and wildlife habitats.

Another factor is the illegal release of these hogs. Anyone caught releasing feral hogs in Missouri could face a fine of up to $2,000 for a single offense. Subsequent offenses within 10 years could result in up to four years in prison.

Hunting has long been used as an effective tool for managing wildlife populations. However, this practice does not help with the feral hog problem.

Because feral hogs travel in groups, shooting them only complicates the trapping process. When one or two feral hogs are shot, it scatters the group and makes trapping more difficult. As such, you are urged to report any feral hog activity instead of shooting into the group. After all, the goal is to eliminate them, not control the population.

If you witness anyone releasing feral hogs, you should report it to your local conservation agent. Landowners should report feral hog sightings and damage at www.mdc.mo.gov/feralhog, or by calling their local USDA or Missouri Department of Conservation office.

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