Legislature holds hearing on Mississippi wild hog problem - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Legislature holds hearing on Mississippi wild hog problem

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Legislative members filled a room in the Capitol this morning to hear from wild hog experts. The summit is focused on educating participants on the scope of the problem and how to address it.

"It's great that Mississippi sportsmen find it exciting and enjoyable to hunt them but that alone is not controlling the overnight increase, every night, of these feral hogs," said Senator Giles Ward who serves as Chairman of the Senate Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee.

Mississippi officials have previously discussed the spread of wild hogs but experts say it's a national problem. Farmers say the hogs are tearing up their crops and something has to be done.

"I don't think we'll ever eradicate them but at least get them under control," explained Randy Knight, President of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation.

Oklahoma uses what they call the Judas pig technique. They collar one wild hog, release it and when they find it two weeks later, they shoot all its friends. Senator Giles Ward doesn't think it would require much regulation.

"Make sure that the public knows that a quote Judas pig is protected because that boar or sow is out there attracting others for an ultimate large eradication," said Ward.

Texas passed what's known as Porkchopper legislation in 2011. That allows wild hogs to be shot from a helicopter. But wildlife officials say Mississippi's land cover would present problems.

"It's not going to work real good in the piney woods. Areas in the delta it could work pretty good. The one thing that would be concerning to anyone is just safety," described Chad Dacus, Wildlife Bureau Manager for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

Ultimately, if you don't live in a rural part of the state, that doesn't mean you won't have a wild hog sighting.

"What we're starting to see now is there coming into the edges of subdivisions, in people's yards damaging landscaping," said Dacus.

A bounty system was another method discussed. But most states have discovered they have more hogs than money.

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