Feral hogs costing the state millions each year: local hunters lend a helping hand
POSTED: Friday, February 7, 2014 - 11:30am
UPDATED: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 - 5:32pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — WARNING: The video footage may be considered graphic for some viewers.
They are big, aggressive, loud and dangerous. With over 500 thousand feral hogs across Louisiana, they are becoming a problem that's plaguing our state.
"They can live off of just about anything which is why their growth is just about exponential,” said state wildlife veterinarian, Dr. James LaCour. “They can probably live in a concrete parking lot off of nearly nothing."
Hunters like Homer Jones don't have a problem lending a helping hand to reduce the population.
“They are a nuisance in the woods and they eat all the deer feed and I’m a deer hunter but these eat well too,” said Jones.
Jones says the hogs are more than just fun to hunt.
“We make sausage veal cutlets that are very good and we will cook it in gravy. I am going to put deer and make wild pork and make a sausage.”
These nasty animals might be what some call good eats but be careful, they can be dangerous even after they are killed.
“These feral hogs carry a myriad of diseases. One disease they have is transmitted to people. When you cut yourself you can get it from the blood contact or with the reproductive juices. If you spray it in your eye or your mouth any of the blood you can contract this disease,” said LaCour. “You can get reproductive track infections. It’s a really bad disease and quite debilitating in people.”
So aside from spreading disease and being a nuisance they are costing our farmers and our state millions of dollars.
“They just tear all the land up it looks like you set a couple of choppers and went through there,” said Jones.
“The problem is the movement of spread and the evolution of these have led to increase agricultural damage across the state. “They pull up corn seedlings they eat sugarcane, they destroy grain crops in the field, they cause millions of dollars of damage within Louisiana and billions throughout the U.S. each year alone in direct agricultural loss which is not insurable. So that money comes out of the farmer pocket when he has to replant or when he looses a crop to hogs.”
Some hunters use dogs, others, like Homer, use homemade traps. He says his one is one of a kind.
“I made this trap to try and get rid of them, I designed this trap myself. I have other traps that just sit on the ground,” Jones tells us. “They start rooting for the corn and hit the trigger and it falls on them.”
Even though hunters across Louisiana are doing their part, it just might not be enough.
“The population will increase there is no doubt about that,” said LaCour. “Statisticians have estimated that with their very high reproductive rate its necessary to harvest 75 percent of the animals on the ground at any particular time in order to keep a static number and 75 percent in most cases is just not a feasible number with current technologies.”
They are a problem that the state recognizes and is trying to tackle at a much larger level.
“We even put some thought into some biological control means for hogs and nothing has come to fruition on that yet.”
So a pig, boars, hogs whatever you want to call them, they are a much larger problem that states across the nation have to deal with.
But with the help of hunters like Homer Jones, they are slowly disappearing one plate of bacon at a time.