Wild hogs pose problem statewide

A FEW YEARS AGO, wild hogs were scattered throughout Mississippi. Now, they are found from one end of the state to the other.

Although illegal, people are relocating them to new properties for recreational opportunities because hog hunting has gotten so popular. Sows with young pigs and mature boars are especially aggressive toward people. They are becoming a bigger and bigger problem for landowners, farmers and sportsmen.

Wild hogs not only multiply rapidly; they can cause extensive crop and property damage.

A wild sow can have two litters each year of six to 12 piglets. An area can go from two pigs one year to 32 the next to hundreds the next.

After birth, the young piglets will depend on their mother for nourishment until they are weaned in about two to three months. After that, the sow will join other sows and their young in a group called a “drift.”

Males are mostly solitary with no real fixed home range. The only time they associate with other hogs is during the breeding season.

A wild hog is capable of eating anything that lands in its tracks.

In Mississippi, wild hogs are classified as non-game predators and feed on anything from ground-nesting birds to smaller animals like rabbits.

They tear up fences, spread disease to livestock and destroy food plots planted for deer, turkey and other wildlife. Also, wild hogs cause thousands of dollars in damage each year to agricultural crops across the state.

One way to control wild hog populations is through hunting. For trophy hunters, older boars make good trophies, and the younger hogs are very tasty. However, hunting wild hogs is not easy due to their keen sense of smell.

Another control method is using snares to trap the wild hogs. This method is not widely used; however, it is very effective when used under fences in heavily traveled areas. Catching a hog with a snare usually means that the hog will have to be killed on the spot.

The most commonly used method of trapping is a with a heavy-duty cage with a spring door, root door or drop door. They are usually baited with sour corn, milo or sweet potatoes. Traps that have even been baited with fish worked very effectively.

There is a new product on the market from Southern Outdoor Technologies called a Hog Slammer. Details are available through www.sportsmanscondo.com or by calling Mark Bernegger at (662) 295-5702.

Remember, if you are going to trap hogs, it is a good idea to contact your local conservation officer to let him or her know about your problem, what you are doing and where your traps will be.

James L. Cummins is executive director of Wildlife Mississippi, a nonprofit, conservation organization founded to conserve, restore and enhance fish, wildlife and plant resources throughout Mississippi.

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