OKLAHOMA – Oklahoma has a hog problem.
Wild boars multiply like rabbits and tear up the landscape.
It’s a billion dollar problem some are hoping can be fixed with the help of state lawmakers.
40 hogs can fit into a hog trap and it’s just one way folks are trying to combat the feral swine problem in the state.
“I’ve got property myself. They just eat up the ground and make the ground look like that tree over there with nothing. Only roots,” Chuck Pyka said.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture is providing free hog traps like these to conservation districts across the state.
Out of 85 conservation districts across Oklahoma, 12 received traps on Thursday. Those conservation districts will now have the choice of whether to loan or rent the traps to landowners in their area.
“Utilize those to give out to local landowners to set up on their private property to trap these hogs that are really such an economic and environmental nuisance to Oklahoma,” Trey Lam, executive director Oklahoma Conservation Commission said.
Officials with the Department of Agriculture say the conservation districts who did not receive traps will have money made available to create or buy their own traps.
The USDA estimates feral swine causes $1.5 billion in damage nationwide due to depleting crops, infecting water with diseases and eroding land around water.
With about one million feral swine in Oklahoma right now, they think this is the best way to control the population.
“The best way to deal with them is to catch the whole family group. These traps are designed to where you hope to get a large number of pigs in before the trap fires,” Scott Alls, assistant director of State Wildlife Services said.
Legislation is being proposed.
The so called “Flying Pig” Bill would allow private entities with landowner permission to shoot hogs from an aircraft without the state having to keep record of who’s participating.
“As an agency, we’ve been doing aerial gunning in the state for about 20 years, but we’re seeing a big influx of private industry. Since it’s become so popular in Texas, it’s kind of moving north with the pigs,” Alls said.
By air or land, state agencies and private entities are hoping to curb the pig problem in the state.
To contact your conservation district go here.