SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The United States Department of Agriculture estimates more than 9 million feral hogs have been reported in 35 states across the country, including Missouri.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), the increase in feral hogs is happening for a few reasons.
One of the reasons is feral hogs are invasive by nature. Female hogs can start reproducing as early as 3-4 months old. Another reason for the boom in numbers is people releasing these animals into Missouri from other states to create recreational hunting opportunities.
MDC Media Specialist Frances Skalicky says hunting wild hogs does not control their population and they are a danger to wildlife.
“They ruined habitats,” said Skalicky. “They’re wallowing in streams. They’re rooting in fields and forest that ruins a lot of wildlife habitats.”
Feral hogs, according to Skalicky, are costing farmers millions of dollars.
“Their rooting and wallowing can hurt crops,” said Skalicky. “They can pass domestic diseases, they can pass diseases onto domestic HERDS, on domestic hogs. If a domestic herd gets infected, the solution is the total elimination of that domestic herd.”
The Conservation Department says even though other states believe hunting these animals may be a solution to the growing population, Missouri is not one of them.
“If you’re hunting you can shoot a few, scatter the rest and those hogs who are scattered have become smarter, have become harder to catch,” said Skalicky. “So you’ve basically kind of increased your problem instead of solving it.”
Agents will come out, inspect and trap the entire group of wild hogs to ensure they are completely eradicated.
“You trap rats because they spread diseases and cause problems, the same thing with feral hogs,” said Skalicky. “We trap feral hogs because they spread diseases and cause problems.”
As for feral hogs coming from other states, it is illegal in Missouri to release these animals into the wild.