What is in this article?:
- Feral hogs a growing concern in Oklahoma
- Three approaches
- Feral hogs can cause extensive damage.
- Wild hogs may carry diseases that can be transmitted to other species, including humans.
Three possible approaches to feral hog population control include trapping, aerial hunting and the use of toxicants, Grant said, though each has significant limitations.
For example, hogs can learn to avoid or even escape traps, a common method used across Oklahoma.
"It's a good method; it's not the end-all," Grant said, adding that trapping may at least help keep up with feral hog reproduction in a local population.
"Aerial hunting is a really good way to get them," he said "But it has its downside, too. One is that you have to be able to see them."
Visibility restricts aerial hunting to those times of the year when there are no leaves on trees and brush. Additionally, hogs can learn to avoid aerial activity and adapt simply by moving onto properties not frequented by low-flying airplanes and helicopters.
Aerial hunting also can be risky and hazardous. The Oklahoma State Legislature has passed two bills that allow aerial hunting from helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft outside the Oct. 1-Jan. 15 period. The governor has signed one bill, and another is awaiting signature.
The Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services also is studying the use of toxicants as a method for control, though it has not been implemented in the United States. In Australia, hog populations are being successfully controlled with the use of sodium nitrite. However, any toxicant used in the United States for wildlife population control must be registered with the EPA after a tremendous amount of testing and evaluations. Effective solutions for avoiding non-target species also must be developed.
"This is going to be some years down the road," Grant said.