The LSU AgCenter reports that the feral hog population continues to expand causing millions of dollars in crop damage across the southeastern United States. In Louisiana the population has grown to 500,000 while in Texas estimates push the growth to 2 to 3 million.
Ricky Kilpatrick, Area Forestry Agent, Northwest Region with the LSU AgCenter says the hogs will eat almost anything. Crops haven't sprouted from the ground at the LSU Ag Center Red River Research Station in Bossier parish, but damage and holes can be seen throughout the fields from hogs searching for seeds, worms and crawfish.
Attempts to slow down hogs throughout the region have shown little promise. "Even with the hunting pressure and all of that they're just reproducing so fast and they're a very smart mammal, you catch one in a trap the other ones learn real quick to avoid that trap," explains Kilpatrick. Feral hogs have can have 8 to 12 offspring per litter and have up to 3 litters each year.
In addition to tearing up farmland the hogs eat saplings timber farmers plant and drive wildlife from hunting areas.
"If the hogs are competing for the acreage or whatever the deer are eating, the deer are going somewhere else, they're not going to compete with hogs," says Kilpatrick. Hogs carry bacteria that can infect other wildlife and dogs, and diseases that cause fever and muscular pain in humans. It is recommended that hunters use gloves when cleaning hogs.
LSU AgCenter has been holding feral hog trap and kill seminars and will likely schedule more in the upcoming months. For more information you can email Ricky Kilpatrick (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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