In 2007, Kansas completed its first year of a state-federal cooperative program for control/eradication of feral pigs in the state.
The Kansas Animal Health Department collaborated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Services to determine the location of feral pig populations and their numbers.
Feral pigs were found to exist in roughly 18 counties in about eight separate groups. Total population was estimated at 1,500-2,000 animals.
So far about 150 private landowners are cooperating in the project, representing 316,000 acres. Some 244,000 acres of public land is also involved.
Blood and tissue samples were taken throughout the year to test specifically for swine brucellosis and pseudorabies (PRV). Neither disease was detected in feral pigs in Kansas. However, feral pigs in Oklahoma were infected, and PRV was recently discovered in feral pigs in Nebraska.
In addition to a disease threat, Kansas landowners reported more than $200,000 of property damage caused by feral pigs in 2007. Most damage was due to crop damage. Feral pigs were reported to have rooted and destroyed corn, milo or sorghum, soybeans, alfalfa, brome pastures, native grass pastures, riparian areas, various hay crops, wheat, wildlife feeders and individual lawns.
Two main feral pig population control efforts attempted in Kansas included trapping and aerial hunting with a helicopter. In aerial hunting during two weeks in February-March 2007, 257 feral pigs were killed. During the rest of the year, trapping efforts removed 166 feral pigs for a total of 423 feral pigs taken. This represents roughly a fourth of the state’s feral pig numbers.
Ground hunting, on the other hand, is largely ineffective because when they are shot at, feral pigs tend to scatter and become nocturnal.