Feral hogs, a harmful and destructive invasive species, are unfortunately established throughout southern and central Missouri, including much of the Mark Twain National Forest.

Feral hogs are not considered wildlife. They are descendants of barnyard pigs and wild boar from Europe which were brought by humans to the U.S. where they either escaped or were turned loose and are now a nuisance in 35 states. The goal of conservation agencies and organizations in Missouri is to completely eliminate feral hogs from the state.

Experience and studies have demonstrated that trapping is the most effective method of controlling feral hog populations. Furthermore, hunting and hunting with dogs is not recommended for feral hog control. The Missouri Department of Conservation is leading an interagency task force to eliminate feral hogs through a program focused primarily on trapping. Hunting is not an efficient means toward that goal. The Missouri feral hog elimination program bans releasing and hunting of feral hogs on state lands.

Wisely, the MTNF is trying to align the Forest with the Missouri Feral Hog Partnership. Doing so would ban releasing and hunting of feral hogs on MTNF lands. Consistency across all public lands in Missouri to halt the spread of feral hogs would be a very good thing.

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Professional wildlife managers, biologists and trappers know what they are doing and are making headway toward eliminating feral hogs. They should be allowed to do their jobs unimpeded by politicians and others who wish to interfere with sound science-based management.

All Missourians should support the MTNF proposal to join and fully implement the Missouri Feral Hog Partnership. To comment or get more information on this matter go online to: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mtnf/landmanagement/?cid=fseprd629017

John Mabery, Fredericktown

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