The Missouri Department of Conservation wants to get the word out about some changes to how feral hogs are being hunted. Missouri now prohibits this hunting on state conservation land. The idea behind this new law is to "outsmart" the wild pigs.
It may some counterintuitive to some that when talking about feral hogs...
"They're descendants of hogs that were once domestic hogs," says Francis Skalicky with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
...The Missouri Department of conservation says these four-legged beasts aren't worth saving.
"They're not wildlife. We don't want them on the landscape," says Skalicky.
"We're surprised at how big these things can get. You wouldn't think you would see a hog weighting 400, 500 pounds, getting through a fence," says Dewayne Convirs.
Convirs has had his share of run-ins with feral hogs.
"We've seen herds of them at our place. We've seen as many as 75 in a herd," says Convirs.
If you've never encountered a wild pig, be thankful. They can be really mean. They can also turn a field into a dug-up war zone.
"They can spread diseases to domestic livestock," says Skalicky.
"They work at night," says Convirs.
Workers with the Missouri Conservation Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been hard at work, too, day and night. The two agencies have trapped and killed almost 4,300 feral hogs this year, more than 700 more than last year.
"A lot of these eradication efforts have gone on on private land. We couldn't have achieved this number without their cooperation," says Skalicky.
Conservation workers say people are really getting the point now that shooting and hunting these wild pigs scatters the herd, making the situation worse. Traps make the most difference.
"We had some guys from Joplin come down, and they did some trapping for us. They caught 22 at one time," says Convirs.
The pigs may think they rule this land.
"A hog can hold its own against any of the predators we have in the state," says Skalicky.
Slowly but surely, though, their shenanigans are really catching up to them.
Contrary to Missouri, the State of Oklahoma still allows people to kill feral hogs on conservation land. However, the State of Kansas does not allow wild pig hunting on public property. In Kansas, it's only permitted on the hunter's own land.
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