The Missouri Conservation Commission approved changes to prohibit the hunting of feral hogs on lands owned, leased or managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) beginning September 30, 2016.
The new regulations do not apply to privately owned property in Missouri.
The new regulations are in response to a public comment period, research from other states, and issues with efforts by MDC staff to trap and eliminate groups of the feral hogs, according to information contained in an MDC press release.
Information suggests hog hunting gives incentives for illegal releases of the animals that allows for future hunting opportunities. The actions increase the invasive hog numbers and locations. Releasing feral hogs to a non-enclosed area or into the wild is illegal in Missouri.
The MDC operates nearly 1,000 conservation areas in Missouri. And about 30 of those areas, mostly located in southern Missouri, are known to have feral hogs.
The press release states MDC Wildlife Division Chief Jason Sumners said: “The regulation change prohibiting hog hunting on conservation lands is a direct result of some misguided individuals disrupting trapping efforts by MDC staff.”
The issue involves corral-type trap and bait areas set by the MDC targeting the capture of an entire group of feral hogs at one time. The effort can take weeks to accomplish. A misguided individual or individuals will find out about the trapping effort and will shoot one or more hogs from the targeted group. This action scatterers the hogs into new locations rendering the trap useless. The result is wasted resources and additional invasive hog issues at new locations.
What issues do feral hogs cause?
Feral hogs are invasive and cause multiple issues in Missouri. Issues cited by the MDC include the following:
- Cause significant damage to wildlife habitats
- Compete with native wildlife such as deer and turkey for food
- Prey upon native wildlife such as turkey and quail
- Destroy natural areas along with agricultural lands
- Pollute streams and ponds
- Spread diseases to domestic livestock and people
What happens now and how can people help?
The MDC encourages the public to report illegal activity, such as releasing the hogs into the wild, to MDC agents. Also, instead of hunting to reduce the feral hog numbers, report hog sightings to MDC agents and offices. This allows MDC staff to determine the locations and numbers of feral hogs in an area and how best to capture and eliminate the entire group of hogs.
For more information and how to report feral hog sightings and damage, visit the MDC feral hog web page HERE.
Information from MDC press release from June 24.