The team of government agents armed with shotguns and a helicopter succeeded in its mission near Clinton Lake.
When it was all over, 25 wild pigs had been gunned down, tested for disease and carted away to an approved mass grave in Osage County.
"They were feral swine, which means they were domestic pigs that either got away from somebody or were intentionally released," said Rob Ladner, a law enforcement officer and supervisor with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks in Topeka.
The helicopter shooting team was sent by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal, Plant Health and Inspection Service. They also hunted wild pigs in four or five other areas of the state last week, Ladner said.
Over the past few years, wild pigs also had been a problem in Sumner County in south-central Kansas and in the Cimarron National Grasslands in western Kansas. About a hundred wild pigs were killed in the course of the week's hunting, Ladner said.
"This is what they do all the time," Ladner said of the shooting team. "This is a nationwide problem."
The pigs were first seen in the Clinton Wildlife Area in 2002, said Clyde Umscheid, a Wildlife and Parks officer in the Lawrence area.
"People started hunting them and driving them up onto private lands," Umscheid said. "They were rooting up farm crops and ground. We were also concerned they might spread diseases to farm cattle or domestic animals."
On public hunting grounds, the hogs destroyed wild game habitat for birds and deer.
"They don't mix well" with native wildlife, Ladner said.
There are no restrictions on hunting wild hogs or pigs because they are not considered wildlife, Ladner said. Because they are considered livestock, their regulation comes under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Livestock commissioner. Commissioner George Teagarden and Kansas Animal Health Department assisted in organizing the eradication effort.
Once domestic pigs are turned loose in the wild, they eventually revert to their wild instincts and genes as they reproduce. Some grow tusks and wiry hair, Ladner and Umscheid said.
"It only takes one or two generations, and then they revert to more of a wild appearance," Ladner said.
It is not uncommon for wild hogs weighing 400 pounds or more to be found, and the largest one at Clinton weighed about 425 pounds, Umscheid said.
Ladner doubts all the hogs that were hanging out at Clinton were killed, but any that escaped probably have scattered to other areas. The population was dispersing anyway because of local hunting.
"They destroyed all that they could find," Ladner said. "I think that we have some that are spread out probably clear into Shawnee County."