Southeast Missouri tops list for invasive feral hogs

Southeast Missouri tops list for invasive feral hogs

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - New numbers from the Missouri Department of Conservation regarding feral hog trapping efforts reveal Southeast Missouri is hog heaven, but not in a good way.

Data shows since the start of 2016, MDC specialists trapped 955 invasive feral hogs statewide. The Southeast Region accounts for 46 percent, or 445, of those hogs.

"We have a couple different isolated populations that are probably some of our densest populations in the state," Southeast Region Wildlife Supervisor Matt Bowyer said.

Compared to this time last year, MDC hog trapping around the state is up 23 percent.

Bowyer said trapping takes place on both public and private land, with the owner's permission.

The MDC is also working with other agencies to help tackle the problem.

"We have cooperators with the USDA and several other state and federal agencies," Bowyer said. "We're also working with a lot of ag groups as they see how these are disruptive to farmers."

The Department of Conservation classifies feral hogs as an invasive species. The department reports they can be detrimental to land and harmful to other plants, animals and fish.

Some hunt hogs for sport or with the intent of aiding in the eradication, but Bowyer said hunters do more damage than good.

"Hunting hogs really is detrimental to our trapping activities," he said. "Trapping is by far the way to eliminate hogs from the landscape. And when someone comes around and hunts in and around those trapping efforts, it can be very disruptive."

He said killing a few hogs by hunting them can scare off the rest, making them more difficult to trap.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has made a proposal to ban feral hog hunting on conservation land.

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