feral hogs | St. Louis Public Radio

feral hogs

A taxidermied feral hog was on display at an open house in Rolla to get comment about hunting them in the Mark Twain National Forest.
Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

Feral hogs are causing major damage to the Mark Twain National Forest.

The animals dig up grasslands and crops, they eat eggs and baby wildlife, and scratching an itch on their backs can literally strip the bark off a tree.

Hunters want a chance to help out with this menace that can weigh over 200 pounds and produce 40 to 50 offspring a year. But the National Forest Service is considering outlawing feral hog hunts on public land in the Mark Twain.

An invasive species in Missouri is causing damage to the landscape, threatening native species and spreading disease.  The Missouri Department of Conservation, on its website, calls feral hogs “a menace that must be destroyed.”

Last year, MDC eliminated more than 9300 feral hogs in the state.  The goal is to completely eradicate them in Missouri.

Missouri Department of Conservation

No one knows exactly how many feral hogs are in Missouri.

But the Missouri Department of Conservation has eliminated 7,300 so far this year.

The pigs aren’t a native Missouri wildlife species. They’re descendants of domesticated pigs that either escaped or were set free to be hunted.

“For over 20 years, unregulated hunting of feral hogs was allowed in Missouri, during which time our feral-hog population expanded from a few counties to over 30 counties,” said Mark McLain, who leads the department’s feral-hog strike team tasked with trapping and killing the animals.

Missouri Department of Conservation official Mark McLain shows how the BoarBuster, a feral hog trap, can be deployed with his phone.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

The invasive feral hog roams in more than 30 counties in Missouri, decimating farmland and wildlife areas in its path.

This summer, state officials banned feral hog hunting on public lands in their latest effort to eradicate the pest from Missouri. They’re also beginning to use new technology to trap the animals.

Provided by Missouri Department of Conservation

Centuries ago, European settlers brought hogs to North America. But little did they know that the wild descendants of those animals would become a major pest. Considered an invasive species, the feral hogs are known to ruin natural areas, spread diseases and cause enormous property damage for local farmers.