Feral hogs


Feral hogs, a harmful and destructive invasive species, are unfortunately established throughout southern and central Missouri, including much of the Mark Twain National Forest (NF). 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 Mark Twain NF is trying to align the Forest with the Missouri Feral Hog Partnership. Doing so would ban releasing and hunting of feral hogs on Mark Twain NF lands. Consistency across all public lands in Missouri to halt the spread of feral hogs would be a very good thing.

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 Mark Twain NF 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


Property tax increase


I recently opened my mail and discovered a notice from the board of equalization. The notice said that the property value on my home almost doubled. This was a terrible shock. I’m sure this has happened to many hundreds of other St. Francois county residence. I have discovered the cause of this terrible injustice and will attempt to share my discoveries.

There are two main reasons for this injustice. The first being the State of Missouri enacted a terrible law many years ago which allowed them to tax our property at one hundred percent of its market value or we face a penalty. The second reason is a culmination of circumstances between the local prison, developers, and the public schools. I will discuss the second cause in my next letter.

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The state law is intended to force property owners who bought their land decades ago out of their homes in the name of progress. When developers built big houses and apartment buildings all around you, your property values will increase exponentially and the higher property values will raise your property taxes. The county tries not to raise property taxes to one hundred percent of market value knowing that it could force many elderly and disabled residence out of their homes.

This unfair law must be changed or property taxes will grow out of control. We can put the blame for this on our state senator Gary Romine and our state congressman Mike Henderson. I called Mr. Henderson’s office and the response was cold hearted and uncaring. Since all the funds for property taxes goes into the public schools and Mr. Henderson is a retired public school employee, he doesn’t care if our property taxes go up as long as the public schools receive theirs and the state takes a little off the top for the property tax penalty. We need a two percent moratorium on all property tax increases We also need to repeal the states intrusive property tax law. If Mr. Romine and Mr. Henderson refuse to act they should be voted out of office.

John Stagg


Fall Fire Ceremony


Halito (Hello),

This Fall my cousin from Mississippi who is our Tribes Fire Keeper for the Vancleave Live Oak Choctaw will be here to hold a very special Fire ceremony in Bonne Terre. Rolling Thunder, well known in Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri will host this Fire at my sister’s home. I am posting this to invite anyone who has an interest in learning Fire ceremony consisting of the Old ways and new ways. This is a ceremony honoring “Sisters”. This fire as all of his Fires honor our Military and First Responders. If you have an interest please PM me or call me at 314-677-0532. This is a great experience for Scouts also.


Spirit Hawk

Deane Hartsell,


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