Just How Devastating Is Louisiana’s Feral Hog Problem?
Two words best describe the feral problem that we are facing in Louisiana and the rest of the country: "Grave Threat"
In fact, the USDA says there are two types of landowners in Louisiana.
- Those who have hogs
- Those who will have hogs
It was about this time three years ago, in May of 2018, feral hogs were absolutely destroying the golf course at East Ridge Country Club in Southeast Shreveport.
That was just one example of the destruction these swine are capable of. In fact, according to an article from Mississippi Wildlife and Fisheries,
According to a USDA study, wild hogs can be blamed for $1.5 billion in damages every year in the United States. The feeding habits of wild hogs make them particularly destructive to crops, woodland habitats, levees, moist soil units, golf courses, and right of ways.
Did you grasp that? That's BILLION, with a B, $1.5 billion in damages every year. And it doesn't appear we're making any progress in lessening that at all.
In Louisiana alone, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, over $75 million in yearly damages are attributed to these "rooter tooters."
According to the Louisiana State University AgCenter, feral hogs cause $76 million in agricultural damage in Louisiana annually.
The LDWF goes on to explain that feral hogs further complicate things in the Bayou State:
- Impact wildlife by direct competition for hard mast resources (fruit of forest trees and shrubs, such as acorns and other nuts) and by preying on reptiles, amphibians, ground-nesting bird eggs, and mammals including deer fawns.
- Uproot both planted and naturally regenerated coniferous and hardwood seedlings, and their heavy consumption of hard mast significantly reduces natural forest regeneration.
- Increase erosion and shed coliform bacteria into waterways.
- Heavily impact agriculture, uprooting planted seeds, destroying mature crops and uprooting hayfields making hay cutting difficult to impossible.
In an article by agupdate.com, Missouri is seeing some reduction in the feral hog population, but they've had to be extremely proactive to make this happen:
In Missouri, the feral hog partnership includes 13 federal and state agencies with a strategic elimination plan. Trapping is the top way to remove the hogs since it allows the USDA and Department of Conservation to capture an entire group of hogs, known as a sounder, at once. They also use firearms, along with helicopters and drones to help locate groups of feral hogs.
The creation of this "Feral Hog Partnership" has been a winner of an idea and has actually affected a 4.1 million acre reduction in the hogs’ range in Missouri in the period from 2016 to 2020.
While I researched hard I wasn't able to find any such organization for Louisiana. Though LDWF has changed a lot of hunting regulations to aid in hog reduction, it appears as though most of their eradication will come at the hands of private citizens, so maybe it's time we created our own "Feral Hog Partnership?"
As with the invasive Salvinia that's brought on extensive problems in Louisiana, this problem will not fix itself.