Extension hosts hog management meeting

Published 12:21 am Sunday, September 11, 2011

Natchez — A large group of landowners gathered at the Adams county Extension Service office Tuesday night to learn more about the growing problem Adams County is having with controlling wild hogs.

Adams County Extension Director David Carter said approximately 50 landowners attended the meeting.

Carter said the meeting was designed to raise awareness of several basic management issues in the community, and Tuesday’s meeting dealt with wild hogs and forestry maintenence.

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“We do these meetings throughout the year depending on problems we are hearing about and public interest,” he said.

Carter said much of the problem with wild hogs stems from the hogs’ ability to reproduce at a fast rate.

“If you start with three hogs, in five years they can get up to 40, in 10 years they can get up to over 600 and in 20 years they can go over 100,000, and that’s probably about where we are at at this point,” Carter said. “Parts of the county are swamped with them.”

While the hogs rate of reproduction is high their enemies are few, and they can adapt to any environment, guest speaker Bill Maily said.

“The reason hogs were put on ships when explorers came here is because they are omnivorous opportunists,” Maily said. “There is no way we can manage a piece of property to deter the animals. They will be there. No matter what they will find a food source. We’ve had cases where they have killed and consumed sheep and calves.

“They were brought here because their reproductive rate was so high and they were easy to take care of with their food habits. Now trapping and shooting them with weapons is the only way (to control them). There are very few, if any, natural predators. You may get a coyote catching a baby pig, but that’s it. There is not one predator except man.”

Carter said the wild hogs cause a variety of problems in areas overrun by large populations.

“Adams County has untapped phenominal wildlife potentional, and the (hogs), deer and turkey are all competiting for the same food,” he said. “The hogs are omnivores and they eat baby deer and get into turkey nests.

“(Wild hog damages) are probably becoming one of our greatest economic losses, but it’s not wide spread. If you look in other states, it’s crippling. It’s not just (causing problems) for hunters. They mess up habitats, food plots, forestry and for landowners they can damage crops. We could also start having trouble in urban areas. They are not limited to rural areas, because they can survive in almost any ecosystem.”

Carter said the most effective way to eradicate wild hogs is trapping, but it will take a concerted effort from landowners to really make progress.

“Large-group trapping is working (best), but we will never eradicate them,” Carter said. “As long as we are in Adams County we will have hogs.”

“But we want to emphisize that if you have them on your place and just run them off on the neighbors it will come back again,” he said. “You have to have a cooperative agreement to attack the problem all together.”

Carter said several people that attended the meeting asked if there was any way possible to terminate large populations at a time.

“The only way to do that is disease, and that could affect other wildlife as well. Our solutions are limited to hunting and trapping, and trapping is better than hunting, because there are traps now that you can catch a lot at one time.”

Mainy said stopping the problem early is key.

“I saw my first hog in Green County in 1977, and it would have been a minor issue then that should have been taken care of, but now it’s gotten out of hand.

“One of the main messages I wanted to give was that if you’ve got (hogs) there are sources of information to help you control them. But, if you don’t have them count your blessings and hang in there, because they are coming. I always say that the last man on Earth will have four things to keep him company, a cock roach, a fire ant, a white-tailed deer and a wild hog.”

Carter said MSU Extension Service Forestry Expert James Floyd also gave a presentation of the effects of forestry on wildlife production.

Two key issues involving forestry discussed at the meeting were the importance of properly thinning pine trees and also the abundance of Southern Pine Beetles.

“Pine trees have a huge economic impact,” Carter said. “It supplies jobs and is a lot of peoples way of living.

“The Southern pine beetle is one of the biggest nuisances we have. Pine beetle outbreaks can be damaging, and we want people to be aware of the potential problem and be able to identify and report them.”

Carter said properly managing pine trees helps manage the entire ecosystem.

“The better you manage the forest land, the better you can manage the widlife,” he said.

Carter said there is another meeting scheduled for Sept. 22 that is geared toward cattlemen that will focus on winter rye grass, food plots and healthcare and management of livestock.