Feral hogs are a major problem for many states and cause upwards of a billion dollars in damage each year. The animals cause considerable damage to the environment and are especially dangerous to several species of ground-nesting birds. States affected by feral pigs often call upon hunters to cull the population, and many sportsmen prefer tackling the challenge. Hogs are cunning animals and adapt to hunting strategies. They also breed quickly.
According to the Associated Press, New Mexico’s Game and Fish Department has had enough. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state is declaring war on the pigs and building an army to match. Over $1 million will go into training and equipping state and federal employees to hunt feral hogs.
This massive hog task force will be bolstered by an accompaniment of helicopters and sportsmen. Wild hog in New Mexico, like in many other states, can be harvested without a license by residents all year round.
This army of pig hunters will try to defeat the problem before it gets worse. Five million feral hogs exist in the United States, and have chewed a destructive path through Mississippi, Texas, and over two-thirds of New Mexico among other states. For now, the state has a chance, and wildlife managers want to make the most of it.
Nearby Texas spends nearly $7 million dollars on their pig management plans–the state contains almost half of all feral hogs in the nation. Data and techniques gained from New Mexico’s program will be shared with other state agencies to help contain the species.
If it works.
Image courtesy National Aeronautics and Space Administration