Agencies trying to reduce feral hog population

“There are two types of landowners in Louisiana, those that have feral hogs and those that are going to have feral hogs.”
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 6:11 PM CDT
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MONFOE, La (KNOE) - Agencies from across the ArkLaMiss are working to reduce the feral hog population.

Ryan Farney with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Bruce Garner with LSU Ag Center in West Carroll Parish have experience with feral hogs.

“How hardy of an animal they are, how they can live in pretty much any environment. They are one of the most invasive species in North America,” said Farney.

At times several groups of feral hogs, called sounders, will make their way onto a piece of land looking for food.

And then most landowners move them on to the neighbors.

“There are two types of landowners in Louisiana, those that have feral hogs and those that are going to have feral hogs,” said Garner.

Farney is trying to eradicate them, while Garner is working to find ways to prevent them from damaging crops.

“It literally ranges and hundreds of thousands of dollars, probably into the millions,” said Garner.

The pigs are smart, and due to how the farming equipment works, they can easily find seeds in a field.

“And then they’ll go just over an inch or two, and there’s another piece and another piece and another piece, and they’ll start from one end of the of a row, and we’ll go all the way across the field,” said Garner.

They also cause damage to irrigation equipment.

“Step on the plastic, tear it up, actually bite into the plastic to get the water out of it,” said Garner.

This leads to flooding in fields, destroying a farmer’s crops. A bag of seeds costs farmers $600, and that is just the seeds to replant the damaged crops.

The other issue is how quickly they reproduce. Agencies struggle to capture and kill enough to keep them under control. Both say that to keep the feral hog population down, there needs to be over 70% killed to make a difference.

“They’re simply not removing enough hogs off of these neighboring properties that these hogs eventually find their way back onto our wildlife management area,” said Farney.

Sometimes it is just moving the issue somewhere else.

But researchers have been working on something that might help. It’s a bait that will kill the hogs, there has been one setback.

“It’s been a very challenging research project for our researchers to develop this bait that will specifically target the hogs,” said Garner. “Would it come out and make an immediate effect on a population? Probably not, but would year two, or year three? Yes, it can make a huge difference.”

While both states are working on a solution, there is help for landowners dealing with hog damage. The Arkansas Game And Fish Commission (AGFC) is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services (USDA APHIS) to assist in trapping and hunting hogs. In Louisiana, you can contact the gaming and fisheries to see about assistance as well.

More information about feral hog issues is available on this through both the LSU Ag Center’s site, AGFC’s site, and USDA APHIS.