State battles wild hog problem - WKRN News 2

State battles wild hog problem

Posted: Updated: March 11, 2013 05:08 PM

The state is trying to control a multi-million dollar problem: wild hogs.

Thousands of them roam the state, damaging crops and farmland.

According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, this has become an even bigger issue in the last few years, because people transported the pigs around the state to hunt them.

Wayne County is ground zero for the war against wild hogs.

"It's not just a couple landowners," said Daniel Plunkett. "It's pretty much every landowner here south has a hog problem."

Plunkett is a wildlife officer with the TWRA and spends most of his time tracking and trapping these hogs.

Plunkett said the hogs mostly do their damage at night and is costing Tennessee landowners millions of dollars a year.

David Duren, who's farmed in Wayne County most of his life, told Nashville's News 2 it's the worst pest he's ever had to deal with.

"You go out there and try to do something and put your money and your work into it and you go back out there and there's nothing," said Duren. "They just tear it down."

Duren also said "Last year, they completely ate up 40 acres of crops on one farm and 20 acres on another farm."

And at five to seven hundred dollars per acre, Duren said he lost so much, he was not able to buy a new truck.

The TWRA says the hogs are rooting for food like nuts, seeds and worms.

Plunkett and another TWRA wildlife officer named Brandon Taylor, bait traps around the county.

They use a special mix of corn, molasses and cherry Kool-Aid.

Plunkett and Taylor hope the smell of the sweet mash entices the hogs to come into the trap.

"We know there's still a few left over here," said Taylor. "But it's just getting them to come back over here and go underneath that gate."

The TWRA keeps tabs on the hogs' nighttime activity with motion sensor trail cameras, but patience is the name of the game.

Plunkett said hogs can reproduce very quickly, two or three liters per year, per hog.

That's why officers want to be sure they trap an entire group at once.

"They're smart," said Plunkett. "If you do shoot at one or if you don't trap the whole group and the others are close by and they see and hear what's going on, you've just educated that pig, and it's going to be even harder to catch it."

The TWRA hopes their increased effort to kill these animals will eventually make a difference.

Once the hogs are trapped, the TWRA kills and buries them.

A sample of each hog's blood is sent to a state lab for disease testing and it is now illegal for hogs to be transported in Tennessee.

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