SOUTHEAST MISSOURI (KFVS) - An ongoing effort to trap and kill feral hogs in Missouri is making strides toward totaling eliminating the wild animal from the state.
Mark McLain is the Feral Hog Elimination Team Leader for Missouri Department of Conservation.
He says the numerous agencies and landowners with the Missouri Feral Hog Partnership have worked together to eliminate 7,075 feral hogs between January 1st and September 30th this year.
“The total elimination of feral hogs from Missouri is not going to happen overnight,” McLain said. “This is a long term project. Here in the Southeast region we have about 10 counties that have feral hogs in them.”
The invasive species of pig is notorious for its destructive behavior, being able to wipe out crop fields and gardens and out competing native mammals for food and resources.
McLain says these problems have continued because the wild animal is a prolific breeder.
“They can start breeding at the very young age of six months old,” McLain said. “They can have approximately six piglets per litter and have about two litters a year. They grow very fast and they eat a lot.”
Some other states have a year-round hunting season of feral hogs to control the animal, but McLain says that method will not help them achieve their goal.
“Hunting is used as a management tool for wildlife populations,” McLain said. “We don't want to manage these feral hogs, we want to eliminate them completely. So trapping is the best way to catch the entire sounder at one time and move on to the next one and catch those and get rid of them."
McLain says they use falling panel traps which are more efficient at eliminating hogs than shooting at them which often scares them onto other people's property and perpetuates the problem.
"Our traps suspend approximately three feet off the ground and it seems like the hogs just look forward and not up,” McLain said. “The suspended traps do not bother them near as much as the regular corral traps. For that reason they are a little more successful. Our greatest success is 62 pigs using one trap with one drop."
McLain says a sow with her piglets can be very dangerous, and suggests keeping your distance and defending yourself.
To get involved in the trapping program you can call the Piedmont Missouri Department of Conservation office at 573-223-4525.