Feral Hog Action Alert - Deadline July 23, 2019

 

 

 

Feral hogs and damage they create in Missouri in natural communities, on farmland, and at a cemetery.

Feral hogs cause damage to many natural communities, including glades and fens—two native grassland types in the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. The effort to eradicate feral hogs in Missouri is at a critical juncture. In Arkansas, Oklahoma, and across the south from Texas to Florida where hunting has been allowed, feral hog populations have grown out of control. Hunting to control feral hogs is not the answer. Trapping with no hunting interference is the proven best method in Missouri and other states to eliminate feral hogs. 

You can help protect the natural resources of the largest landowner in the state—the Mark Twain National Forest, which owns 1.5 million acres in Missouri—from feral hog damage by sending written comments to the leadership of the Mark Twain National Forest, in support of the U.S. Forest Service’s proposal to close the Mark Twain to the take (hunting), pursuit, or release of feral hogs on Mark Twain National Forest land. You will be helping protect surrounding natural communities, state parks, and farmland from feral hog damage, as well.  

Comments are due July 23, 2019. 

  • Email comments to:  SM.FS.MTFeralSwine@usda.gov --or--
  • Mail comments to Forest Supervisor; ATTN: Feral Swine Comment; Mark Twain National Forest; 401 Fairgrounds Road; Rolla, MO 65401.
     

See the attached article on this subject by Dr. Susan Flader and the following points, which can help you write a letter in support of closing the Mark Twain to feral hog hunting: 

  • Feral hogs are non-native and not a wildlife species. They are wild-living hogs descended from domestic swine, and hybrids of domestic swine and Eurasian wild boar. Feral hogs can destroy agricultural crops, hay fields, and wildlife habitat while reducing water quality, contributing to soil erosion and the destruction of sensitive natural areas such as forests, glades, fens, and springs. They out-compete native wildlife for habitat and food. For example, places with many feral hogs experience a decline in wild turkey and deer populations. There are feral hog problems in 37 Missouri counties, most of which contain Mark Twain National Forest land, and which threaten the 1.5 million acres of your national forest land in Missouri. 
  • This proposal pertains only to closing hunting of feral hogs; hunting of game species in the Mark Twain remains the same and per state law. 
  • According to the Mark Twain National Forest, the rooting and foraging behavior of feral hogs causes nearly $2.4 billion in damage and control costs nationwide to farmers, landowners, and to the local, state, and federal agencies charged with managing those
    lands for the good of all. Farmers and landowners alone sustain nearly $800 million in damages each year.  
  • Feral hogs can carry and transmit numerous bacterial and viral diseases to domesticated swine, livestock, pets, and humans.  
  • The U.S. Forest Service proposes to ban the take (hunting), pursuit, or release of feral hogs on Mark Twain National Forest land based on a request made by the Missouri Department of Conservation, and as part of the Missouri Feral Hog Partnership. In 2017, the Partnership developed and started implementing a statewide strategic plan for eliminating feral hogs, and they are already seeing success in some parts of the Missouri countryside through targeted trapping. However, when landowners try to control feral hogs through hunting, hog herds scatter, making trapping more difficult. Trapping with no hunting interference is the proven best method in Missouri and other states to eliminate feral hogs.  
  • The U.S. Forest Service supports the elimination of feral hogs as an essential step in the conservation of our public lands and to ease the enormous financial burden this invasive species puts on Missouri farmers and other private landowners.  
  • Feral hog eradication is supported by every credible outdoor organization in the state, government, or industry including the Missouri Department of Conservation and the USDA/APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). Taxpayer-funded state and federal efforts have made great progress against feral hogs in Missouri, but finishing the job is a challenge. 
  • In 2016, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), and in 2017, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the LAD Foundation established regulations against feral hog hunting on lands owned, leased, and managed by these three entities. Other agencies have passed regulations similar to MDC’s to eliminate hog hunting on land they own—except the Mark Twain National Forest. Please write to the Mark Twain National Forest in support of the U.S. Forest Service's proposal to ban the take (hunting), pursuit, or release of feral hogs on Mark Twain National Forest land. Deadline for comments is July 23, 2019. 

(Landowners with feral hog problems should contact the Missouri Department of Conservation at 573-522-4115 ext. 3296.)