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. More....