Trespassing, vandalism interfering in Missouri feral hog trapping

The trapping process involves a baited corral trap and then a multi-day wait for the sounder of feral hogs to develop a pattern of coming to the trap.

February 25, 2019

3 Min Read
According to the MDC, when hog hunters allow dogs in and around feral hog traps it disturbs the trapping scene and causes feral hogs to leave the area. Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation and USDA Wildlife Services are reporting trouble trapping feral hogs due to vandalism and trespassing at the sites. 

“One of our Iron County trappers had interference from hog hunters on private properties on seven of 11 straight days he worked,” says Mark McLain, MDC feral hog elimination team leader. “Another trapper in Reynolds County had six interferences with hog hunters and their dogs over the last three months while working on private land.”  

In Missouri’s Ozark region, MDC and USDA feral hog trappers checked game cameras at a hog trapping site to find that, although the sounder of feral hogs had visited the trap on a regular basis, a feral hog hunter trespassed on the area and disturbed the trap. The disturbance delayed success of the trap for three months. In another incident, trappers visited a trap site to find someone’s dog tied to a tree within 100 yards of the trap while a man was trespassing on the private property and tracking the hogs with another dog. 

“What people don’t realize is that feral hogs travel in groups of anywhere from 10 to as many as 60,” McLain says. “When someone trespasses onto an area where we’re trapping, and they chase the hogs, they may kill one or two from the group, but now they’ve scattered the rest of the group, sometimes for miles, impacting many new landowners.”

McLain says that when feral hogs are scattered, they move into new areas, reproduce quickly (one sow can birth up to 18 young in a year) and with natural dispersal or human disturbance, they eventually return to the property they scattered from.

“The problem doesn’t just go away, it moves and multiplies and comes back,” he says. “This is why hog hunting won’t stop hog populations from growing and destroying more wildlife habitat, farms and fields. Eliminating all feral hogs by trapping is the best way to stop feral hog damage.”

The trapping process involves a baited corral trap and then a multi-day wait for the sounder of feral hogs to develop a pattern of coming to the trap. Once the feral hogs develop a pattern, the trappers arm the trap to drop when the whole group is inside.

When trespassers disturb this process, it can cause the team to have to search for the scattered hogs and then move the trapping site, sometimes to multiple locations once the feral hogs have scattered. Feral hogs have been known to run many miles when chased. They can reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour and easily jump over low fences.

“This interference unnecessarily raises the costs of elimination efforts,” McLain says. He adds that vandalism is common at the trapping sites and individuals have gone so far as to smash game cameras used by the team.

“Vandalism is documented and turned over to conservation agents for investigation,” says MDC protection chief Randy Doman. “People that vandalize and trespass aren’t usually the type to stop the behavior simply because you ask. This is criminal behavior and when caught, it can be costly.”

Members of the public can help, he says, by reporting trespassing activities.

“The cost of hog trapping is necessary because of the damage and expense they cause to the land, wildlife, landowners and farmers,” Doman says. “MDC works with landowners and other agency partners to help eliminate feral hogs. Vandalizing traps only exacerbates the problem for landowners.”

Last week a bill was re-introduced for the third time in the Missouri House that would allow feral hogs to be commercially processed for consumption.

Source: Missouri Department of Conservation, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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