CONSERVATION - FERAL HOGS DESTROY WILDLIFE HABITAT
Habitat for turkey, quail and other nesting birds is being destroyed by a non-native species - feral hogs. Since the days of open range, a few Missouri counties have had populations of domestic wild hogs. In recent years some people have illegally introduced hogs that have been crossed with the European boar strain to produce animals that reproduce prolifically and have strong survival instint that make them especially wary. Populations of feral hogs have been reported in 20 counties primarily south of highway 50, with estimated numbers of 50,000. A feral hog is defined as any hog, including Russian and European wild boar, that is not conspicuously identified by ear tags or other forms of identification and is roaming freely upon public or private lands without the landowner's permission.
They can -
- be aggressive and may attack, especially when protecting their young
_ damage crops, vineyards and forest land
_ contribute to soil erosion of creeks and streams
_ destroy natural communities
_ compete with native wildlife for food
_ they will eat anything they can catch, including reptiles, amphibians, deer fawn , eggs and newly born livestock
How hunters can help-
Intense hunting pressure has helped reduce numbers in Missouri However because of high reprodutive rates of around 12 piglets a year, with those piglets being able to breed at 6 months old, populations grow rapidly unchecked. If you kill a feral hog on public land or on private land where you have permission to hunt, you are not liable for the loss of the animal if someone claims ownership.
If you see a feral hog while hunting other game -" SHOOT IT ON SIGHT "
Feral hog hunting and harvesting tips -
Feral hogs are not native to Missouri and can be taken in any number , any time, under any method , but certain restrictions apply during firearms deer and turkey season.
For best feral hog hunting results on private land IRON and REYNOLDS county are listed among the top counties for feral hogs-
DAKEL HOG RANCH PROPERTY IS LOCATED ON THE IRON \ REYNOLDS COUNTY LINE , SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 2 BEST LISTED COUNTIES FOR FERAL HOGS.
Feral Hog Life History:
Feral hogs' life history explains why they have become such a big problem so fast.
They are prolific, adaptable, omnivorous, gregarious, far- ranging and hardy.
First, feral hogs reproduce nearly as prolifically as rabbits. Breeding occurs at any time of the year when abundant food is available. Females can begin breeding in their 6 month of life and produce two litters of 4-10 piglets every 12-15 months. This level of reproduction can double a feral hog population in 4 months.
Secondly, they are highly adaptable. Although they have appeared in nearly every kind of habitat in the state, Feral hogs seem to prefer moist bottom land forests and riparian areas around creeks and streams, where mud for wallowing and foods such as acorns are plentiful. The dense vegetation in these areas also shelters and hides feral hogs.
In the heat of summer feral hogs are most active at night.
During cooler seasons they are more likely to be active in the early morning and late afternoon. Feral hogs are voracious omnivores, eating almost anything that their vacuum - like snout encounters.
Grasses, roots and succulent green vegetation are preferred foods in the spring. In summer and fall they search for fruits, nuts and animal matter, including carrion, insects and eggs of ground- nesting birds. In winter they subsist primarily on grasses and agricultural grains.
Like their domestic cousins feral hogs are social animals. They tend to travel in family groups consisting of several sows and their offspring. Weaned pigs stay with their mother until another litter is born or until they mate. Adult boars are usually solitary,
joining groups only to mate or take advantage of a concentrated source of food.
A group of hogs' range is related to food availability. Where food is abundant hogs occupy a smaller area than where food is scarce. Feral hogs particularly boars have been known to have a home range of as much as 19 square miles when food is scarce.
Although many piglets die within the first 3 months of life. Feral hogs have been known to live for about 8 years and most average 4-5 years. Older hogs may die from disease, starvation, hunting and coyotes, bobcats and feral dogs.
Hunting tips, When hunting wild feral hogs in Missouri a private property hunt is highly recommended. Hogs are very dangerous and should be hunted with high powered, multi shot rifle. There are no restrictions on what you can hunt wild hogs with in Missouri , but let me make this clear. IF YOU ARE HUNTING WITH A SINGLE SHOT RIFLE OR BOW , HUNT FROM A STAND - NOT FROM THE GROUND.
SINCE FERAL HOGS ARE MOSTLY NOCTURNAL, BEST HUNTING IS DURING LATE PM AND EARLY AM HOURS .