In an effort to combat wild hog populations, Mississippi’s Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has approved a rule change that will allow trapping of wild hogs on some wildlife management areas.
Russ Walsh, the executive staff officer for the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, says the trapping recommendation grew from public interest and will help the department’s own trapping efforts.
“This statement will allow hog trapping as needed by permit,” Walsh said. “The new language will be in the basic regs. Each WMA will have specific regs. Wildlife management areas will not automatically be open for hog trapping. We will allow hog trapping based on need.”
How, where and when public trapping will be allowed has yet to be determined.
“The first step was getting it in the regs so we can go down the road to allow it,” Walsh said. “We’ve had discussions about how it may work, but it may have to be refined and retooled.
“We’ll probably open it on our state-owned WMAs first and then look at other WMAs. Those will have to be looked at differently.”
Mississippi is home to over 50 Wildlife Management Areas, including Yockanookany WMA in eastern Attala County.
When trapping will be allowed hasn’t been set in stone, either.
“More than likely it would be outside of hunting seasons due to baiting issues,” Walsh said. “It will probably be outside of your big game hunting seasons
Wild hogs are an invasive species and have become a nightmare for some farmers and land managers. Food plots and crops are destroyed and the costs add up. According to the Mississippi State University Extension Service, wild hogs cause roughly $1.5 billion in damage in the United States annually.
They also out-compete native wildlife such as white-tailed deer for food resources. Wild hogs can consume up to five percent of their weight in food daily, which means a 250 pound pig can eat 12½ pounds a day or over 4,500 pounds annually.
The spread of disease to other animals is yet another concern.
“Wild hogs are such a reservoir for so many diseases,” said Anthony Ballard, MDWFP nuisance animal biologist. “Hogs are hosts to about 30 types of bacterial and virulent diseases and 37 parasites. They can contract things and live with it that will kill other animals. They can carry on, do their thing and basically be unaffected.” (AP)