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Wild hogs a growing concern; hunt scheduled February 28 in Kay County

A statewide survey conducted by the Noble Foundation wildlife and fisheries staff in 2007 was initiated to get an idea of the number of feral hogs in Oklahoma. The survey was answered in every county by representatives of The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Oklahoma State University Extension and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

These representatives were asked if feral hogs were present in their county and to estimate the year feral hogs were first seen. From the surveys it was concluded that 74 of the 77 Oklahoma counties were infested with feral hogs.

McCurtain County was reported to have had feral hogs previous to 1970. It was reported that feral hogs were not seen in Kay County until 2000. The problem, feral hogs are known to have two litters a year ranging from 4 to 10 young. Being omnivorous, they eat both animal and plant matter. The damage that feral hogs can have on crops can be extensive. In one instance shown, by the Noble Foundation, feral hogs exceeded $40,000 in damage to peanut crops. In another instance feral hogs rooted along freshly planted corn rows, eating the seeds and causing a loss in money and labor. Of all landowners, farmers are the seen to be the most economically affected by this invasive species.

Adding to the physical damage, these feral hogs can carry dieses and parasites. The two main diseases of feral hogs that are most common are pseudorabies and swine brucellosis. Pseudorabies is a viral disease of the central nervous system that can affect domestic hogs along with cattle, horses, goats, sheep, dogs, and cats.

The best way to help control the feral hog population is through eradication. Organized hunts have proven to be successful in several southern states and have even become a form of agri-tourism in some areas.

On Feb. 28, Kay County Extension Office will be holding a Kay County Wild Hog Hunt.

The hunt will be open to anyone in Oklahoma and the Oklahoma state lines will be used at the hunt boundary. The Hunt will begin February 28 and end March 2, 2014. For more information about this or other programs, contact the Kay County Extension office at 580-362-3194. Also follow us on Facebook at Kay County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and local Governments Cooperating. The Oklahoma Cooperative extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

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