December 22, 2016

Midwest: States Gearing up to Combat Feral Hogs

Feral hogs, an exotic invasive species, cause significant damage to our natural resources. Research has attributed many negative impacts to this species, including damage to agriculture, the spread of disease, and the displacement of other game and non-game species. Due to the hog’s rapid reproductive capabilities, cost-effective management of this species is difficult.

Between 1990 and 2013, feral hog numbers exploded from an estimated 2 million across 20 states to 6 million in 38 states.

The range of this damaging species extends from the Southeast United States, through the Midwest, to parts of the West Coast, and is expected to continue to spread. State fish and wildlife agency regulations to manage feral hogs differ from state to state. Some states declare an open hunting season in order to reduce the population. Other states have banned the take of feral hogs to discourage their release into new areas where hogs have not yet become established in the wild.

State legislators throughout the Midwest including Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, have recently considered legislation to combat the threat of feral hogs. Missouri has already pre-filed legislation (MO H 177) concerning feral hogs for the 2017 legislative session.

Thus far, the most effective tool to slow the spread of feral hogs is to implement and enforce measures that ban the transportation of the species. More state legislatures are expected to take up the fight against feral hogs in the 2017 session and in the future. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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