Thursday night, landowners and agency representatives from around the area met at Hempstead Hall to hear a presentation from the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, in partnership with the USDA and Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
The assembly filled up most of the Fulton Room at Hempstead, with attendees enjoying a catered dinner of pork and chicken, as well as baked beans and macaroni and cheese before hearing the presentation by the Game & Fish Commission.
As many rural residents are aware, feral hogs pose a serious risk to safety, property, and health across the country. Particularly in Texas, Florida, and California, feral hog numbers have ramped up to the point that herds of them can threaten habitats and food supplies for other local wildlife. They also have a big impact on farms, as the wallows they create can destroy crops and cause expensive equipment such as combines to become mired in mud.
In addition to their impact on the environment and other wildlife, feral hogs also carry up to 45 bacteria, diseases, and parasites, according to the Game & Fish Commission.
Efforts to halt the spread of this invasive species by the Game & Fish Commission include trapping and aerial hunting, as well as ground hunting. Unfortunately, many of their efforts can only be done either on public land, or with the permission of rural landowners, many of whom have proven hesitant to have a government agency put up traps, cameras, and equipment on their property.
Hog hunting, according to Game & Fish, only reduces the population by between eight and 50 percent in a given year, while the population of these rapidly breeding animals needs to be reduced by over 60 percent to control their population effectively. Civilian hunting also has a negative impact on AGFC’s efforts, as killing one or two animals many result in the entire herd moving to new territory.
If you have a feral hog issue on your land, or you represent an agency that needs feral hogs removed from private property, contact the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission at 800-364-4263.