Missouri suggests new way to deal with feral hogs

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - Feral hogs are pests that can destroy your property, and stopping them is getting tougher.

They're a growing problem in places like Barry and Taney Counties. Francis Skalicky with the Missouri Department of Conservation says they are a problem animal that needs to be dealt with.

But, why are there wild hogs here? Years ago, farmers let their "livestock pigs" roam free. Some wandered off, went wild, and multiplied.

These pigs are hairy, disease-ridden, and destructive. They tear up yards, fields, crops, and forest land. They consume large amounts of food eaten by native animals. To cap it off, these things are huge, so no predator wants to take them down.

It is illegal to shoot them on conservation property. You can shoot them on your own property. But, experts are encouraging something new. They want people to trap them instead, and eliminate several at once.

Skalicky says, "In a hunting situation, you shoot a few, scare the rest, and scatter them and those hogs become warier, become harder to tap, and you may have increased the problem rather than solve it."

The Conservation Department points to a failed experiment in Tennessee as a reason not to shoot the animals. That state opened a statewide hunt on the animals. During that time frame, the animals simply hid more, but still did damage and multiplied. The number of wild hogs increased vastly.