LJWorld.com weblogs Linda's Backroad Musings
Feral Hog Problem Addressed
Feral hogs once again reared their ugly heads in the upper Wildlife and Parks region of Clinton Lake. Only this time, USDA Animal Control Specialist, Chad Richardson and his staff were there.First spotted in 2002, the wild pigs have been a continuing problem to private landowners and farmers leasing farmland in the Wildlife and Parks hunting area. I personally became concerned when I spotted a group walking across the pasture directly behind our home, an area where our grandchildren play.The Lawrence Journal World reported the USDA helicopter flight on March 17, 2006. In June, 2006 the Kansas Legislature passed a bill banning public hunting of feral hogs. Finally, in a story on January 25, 2007, George Teagarden, Kansas Livestock Commission announced they would fly again in the spring of 2007 reported here. Although the problem continued to receive attention, I did not feel there was a united effort against the growing population. We continued to see them, often a sow leading a group of babies.The USDA, Kansas Livestock Commission and Kansas Wildlife and Parks handling of the feral hog problem in our valley has received criticism. I, personally, felt the helicopter could not be completely effective over our valley because of the foliage. Others felt the ban on hunting did not make sense. Meanwhile, the farmers continued to lose crops. Two were hit on the road with damage to vehicles. It seemed the problem had no practical solution.It all changed December of 2007. It was the Holidays, but Chad Richardson was on the job. He paid us a visit and indicated he was ready to work on the hog population.Thanks to Richardson's long hours and local cooperation, a coordinated program of trapping began. The ban on hunting kept the hogs localized in the valley. As a result, 60 hogs were caught in live traps the months of December and January. The helicopter flew again on February 4, 2008 with 23 taken at that time.Although there may be feral hogs left in the valley, I applaud Richardson for his efforts in removing 83 of them. I, for one, will feel safer walking down the valley road this spring.