If you are planning a hunting trip to kill hogs in the Mark Twain National Forest you had better be doing it sooner rather than later. The MDC is considering implementing a ban on shooting feral hogs on all public lands under their control. They will take comments from the public until May 1, 2016 before making the final decision and the law would take affect on September 30th.
The Springfield News Leader reports; Missouri hunters once were encouraged to shoot feral hogs on sight, to help wipe out the non-native, destructive creatures, but just over a week ago the Conservation Commission proposed a major shift that would bar hunters from shooting wild hogs on any land under control of the Missouri Department of Conservation. That includes the 1,000 conservation areas that are public lands popular with deer, turkey and, yes, feral-hog hunters. If the proposal ultimately goes into effect on Sept. 30, potential penalties for illegal hog hunting could include fines and the loss of hunting privileges.
The problem with hunters shooting feral hogs is that they never kill the entire herd, according to James Dixon, conservation wildlife damage biologist who traps hogs in the 17-county southwest Missouri region. Of the 3,649 feral hogs trapped by game officials last year, Dixon said about 500 were corralled in southwest Missouri. “I know the local boys want to hunt them, but shooting them tends to scatter them,” Dixon said. “They might get one or two, but the rest of the hogs will run and we lose that chance to get the whole group.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation has a very informative and interesting page on their website, Feral Hogs in Missouri for anyone in learning more about the pest.
An alternative approach to eradicating the problem is for the State to implement a bounty on the hogs and let the Missouri hunters take care of it themselves. It could be scheduled and regulated in a fashion not to interfere with other seasons or the trapping efforts of the MDC and the participation would be phenomenal. They could even pay the bounty in beer if they prefer, Beer and Bar-B-Q, what could be better than that after an exhilarating day chasing pigs through the Missouri Ozarks.