Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for
Date of this Version
The proliferation of invasive exotic species presents one of the most important challenges that natural resource managers face today. The feral hog (Sus scrofa) has been a problem in the southern US in recent decades and is now a growing concern in North America with an expanding distribution northward. The spread of this prolific and adaptable species seems to be aided by intentional releases of animals on remote public properties. Feral hogs were successfully eradicated on Fort Leonard Wood (FLW), Missouri by the combined efforts of hunting by the general public and trapping by natural resource managers. Hogs were likely introduced on FLW in order to establish huntable populations on this 61,411 acre military reservation that is open to hunting by the general public with restrictions. Hogs were first observed on FLW in 1997 and a control program subsequently established that included informing hunters about the destructive nature of feral hogs, encouraging hunting/killing whenever possible, and intensive trapping and monitoring by natural resource managers with the goal of total eradication. Hunters went after their new quarry with much enthusiasm and an unknown number was removed by hunters from 1997 – 2004 but likely included several hundred hogs. A total of 93 hogs was trapped and removed by natural resource managers from 2001 – 2004. No hogs have been documented on FLW since 2004. A probable key factor in the success of hog removal from FLW was intensive trapping efforts in restricted areas that hunters could not access and subsequently became hog refuges. Hunter-pressured hogs were eliminated in this way. Also certain Hunting Areas on FLW are only open periodically so hogs were allowed temporary refuge conditions until the areas were opened to hunting and then pursued diligently by hunters. We also tracked three feral hogs on FLW with the use of radio telemetry equipment and were able to obtain additional information about their movements and groupings. Telemetry equipment can be utilized as an additional tool to track hunter-pressured feral hogs. An effective and complete feral hog removal program requires a comprehensive approach. FLW utilized a holistic approach including disseminating information, encouraging hunting/killing whenever possible, and intensive trapping in refuge areas to accomplish feral hog eradication.
Published in 2008 National Conference on Feral Hogs. April 13-15, 2008; St. Louis, MO Hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Used by permission.