Helicopter hunting may increase to control feral swine
“Wild hogs are known to carry at least 30 diseases and 40 parasites that are communicable to humans, pets and wildlife.”
Feb 15, 2019
| The Messenger, Madisonville, Ky. – A “massive explosion” in wild hog sightings in Kentucky and Tennessee has prompted state wildlife agencies to consider an eradication method called aerial gunning, where professionals shoot pigs from helicopters.
Increasing numbers of the feral swine have been sighted in the southern part of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area since 2016.
LBL has been trapping the hogs since it disallowed hunting in 2015, but the recreation area’s management was advised in late November to adopt a more intensive strategy, said Chris Joyner, public information officer for LBL.
“We trapped 70 (hogs) in 2018. We trapped 26 last week, but (state wildlife resource agencies) tell us that’s not going to be enough, that we’re going to have to get more aggressive with our approaches,” Joyner said.
“Feral pigs have been determined to be potential hosts for at least 34 pathogens that can be transmitted to livestock, wildlife, and humans.” – Wikipedia
Wild hogs are known to carry at least 30 diseases and 40 parasites that are communicable to humans, pets and wildlife.
The swine destroy crops and ecosystems, displace native species and wreak havoc on cultural sites like graveyards, of which there are 270 in Land Between the Lakes, Joyner said.
“One thing people don’t understand is the impact (the pigs) can have on the area,” Joyner said:
“People who hunt wild turkeys, for example, seek out Land Between the Lakes as a destination. … Hogs will eat the turkey eggs; they’ll eat the baby turkeys. They have a major potential to impact our economy because of that.”
The largest pig populations are currently concentrated in the south, near Dover, Tennessee; however, sightings have been trending northward.
Agencies suspect the uptick in hog sightings since 2016 is due to people illegally releasing them into the recreation area in order to hunt them, Joyner said.
Once wild hogs have established a population, it’s impossible to fully eradicate them.
While trapping is the most effective method of getting rid of the hogs, it’s a challenge to trap the swine in large numbers … Read more.
“[M]ost state departments of wildlife openly acknowledge feral pigs as an ecological threat and some classify them as vermin. For example, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources considers them unprotected wild animals with no closed season or harvest limit, and promotes their aggressive removal.” – Wikipedia
‘We are being invaded by wild hogs’
Feds shoot swine from chopper in southeast Missouri
By Jack Suntrup St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Feral hogs rule the night in parts of Missouri, with packs of 10 or more able to root through multiple acres of farmland in a single feeding frenzy. So this week in southeast Missouri, federal officials boarded a helicopter to wipe out as many as possible.
A team with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or APHIS, shot and killed 103 feral hogs this week from the helicopter, according to the agency — 93 on federal wilderness land and 10 on private land, with owner permission.
The U.S. Forest Service closed trails in the 9,143-acre Bell Mountain Wilderness, in Iron County south of Potosi, and in the 4,293-acre Rockpile Mountain Wilderness, in Madison County south of Fredericktown, for several days this week so the agents could proceed.
Conservation agents primarily try to trap large “sounder” groups on the ground all at once. But, the so-called “aerial gunning activities” are used as a last resort for hard-to-catch hogs hiding in some of the state’s most rugged terrain. Agents often leave hogs shot in aerial operations on site to decompose, as they did in this case, according to APHIS.
This week’s haul will represent a small portion of the overall number of hogs killed this year by the Missouri Department of Conservation, other agencies and private landowners. Through September, conservation officials said the coalition had killed 7,339 hogs this year — 778 more than in 2017, according to the department.
Most of the state’s feral hog population is concentrated south of Interstate 44. But the problem seems to be most persistent in areas of southeast Missouri, including Iron County.
“The western part of the state has seen the most improvement at this point,” said Alan Leary, the state’s feral hog coordinator, adding he had no overall population estimates. Read more.
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