Friday, February 3rd, 2023
Friday, February 3rd, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Kansas program to kill feral hogs slowly succeeding

Sun City, Kan. (AP) — A combined state and federal effort to
eradicate feral hogs from south-central and eastern Kansas is
steadily making progress, those who hunt the animals say.

The hogs, which causes thousands of dollars in damage to
pastures and crops, are hunted by helicopter and on the ground
under a program conducted by the Kansas Animal Health Department
and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The animals also are
trapped during the year.

The program began in 2006 and currently has about 250
cooperating private landowners, who own about 316,000 acres.
Another 224,000 acres of public land also are part of the hunt.

Chad Richardson, a USDA wildlife biologist from Milford,
estimated that a couple of years ago Kansas had nearly 2,000 hogs
causing $200,000 to $300,000 damage. They also have the potential
to spread diseases like brucellosis to livestock, and pseudorabies
to domestic hogs.

But a state veterinarian, Steve Wilterding, of Tribune, said
that in the past four years, no feral hogs have tested positive for
any diseases.

The hogs proliferate because one sow can produce two litters of
four to six piglets a year and they have no natural predator.

Between 1995 and 2000, Richardson helped eliminate 378 hogs from
Fort Riley. The animals have not returned to the area. In 2006,
Kansas Livestock Commissioner George Teagarden told him the feral
hog population was growing in parts of eastern and southern
Kansas.

Teagarden also was working to get the state to ban sport hog
hunting, which he hoped would remove the incentive for people to
release the hogs into the wild.

A state law passed in 1995 made it unlawful to release or
possess feral swine, Teagarden said, but the problem continued to
grow.

While a few may have moved up from Texas where hogs are
abundant, Richardson said he believes most of the hogs are brought
in and released by those who want to make hog hunting a sport in
the state.

Whatever the reason the hogs are in Kansas, they have cost the
state thousands of dollars. Teagarden said the first three years of
the program have cost about $450,000. And he’s not sure how much
funding he’ll get this year because of the state’s tight
budget.

Current state law also allows landowners, or a legal tenant, to
kill feral hogs. An outside eradication company also can be used if
the landowner gets a permit through Teagarden’s office.

But it’s possible someone is charging hunters somewhere in the
state for a hog hunt, he said.

“We have some questions about a couple places,” Teagarden
said.

Richardson said state-approved hunters are not seeing as many
hogs as they have in the past. Typically, the agency kills an
average of 500 hogs a year. This year, a few were shot around
Clinton Lake near Lawrence.

And Rusty Lake, who farms around Lake City, said he isn’t seeing
as many hogs as usual.

“The populations are really cut back,” Lake said, but he added
that the animals are elusive. “Between here and Sun City, you might
pass 200 of them and not ever see one.”

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