SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The increased feral hog elimination efforts by the Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership (the Partnership) underway on public and private land in southeast and south-central Missouri is the latest chapter in Missouri’s long fight to defend the state against the nuisance animals. Ongoing winter operations mirror the adapted philosophy that’s also taking place elsewhere in the U.S. as an increasing number of states realize hunting is an inefficient method of eliminating a creature neither farmers nor recreational enthusiasts want on the landscape.
The Partnership is made up of several organizations, but active on the ground efforts involve staff from Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), USDA APHIS Wildlife Services and the L-A-D Foundation.
In Missouri, hard-working farmers and responsible landowners have a long history of hating feral hogs. One of the state’s early livestock fencing laws, a St. Charles County law enacted in 1884, was a requirement for the confinement of hogs. It’s significant to note this county law didn’t apply to all livestock – just hogs. It’s a clear indication that more than 130 years ago, Missourians were already trying to come up with solutions for the damage free-range hogs were doing to crop fields, pastures and wildlife habitats across the state.
The free-ranging of hogs in Missouri – and other livestock as well – came to an end with the passage of statewide fencing laws in 1969. Considering the lifespan of feral swine is 10-15 years and the hog elimination efforts that have taken place since then (more than 35,000 hogs have been removed in the last five years alone), it’s clear there’s little to no lineage from the feral hogs being trapped this winter to the free-range hogs that once roamed Missouri’s fields and forests before they were required to