MDC proposes banning hog hunting on conservation areas

New regulation would help end disturbance by hog hunters of MDC hog-trapping efforts and help end illegal releases of feral hogs for hunting.

Hogs damage Spring private land.

Hogs damage Spring private land.

At its meeting on Jan. 22, the Missouri Conservation Commission voiced initial approval for recommended changes to the Wildlife Code of Missouri that would prohibit the hunting of feral hogs on lands owned, leased, or managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).

The next step in the rulemaking process includes a 30-day public comment period on the proposed regulation changes, which will run from April 2 through May 1. Public comments can be submitted by mail to: Missouri Department of Conservation, Regulations Committee, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180. Comments can also be submitted by email to Regulations@mdc.mo.gov.

Following final Conservation Commission consideration of citizen input and staff recommendations this summer, the anticipated effective date of the regulation changes will be Sept. 30. Potential penalties for illegal hog hunting could include fines and the loss of hunting privileges.

Hog hunting causes headaches

The Conservation Department discourages hunting specifically for feral hogs in Missouri. Research from other states shows that hog hunting actually increases feral hog numbers and locations because of illegal releases of more animals into the wild for future hunting opportunities.

According to MDC Wildlife Division Chief Jason Sumners, hog hunting on conservation areas ruins efforts by MDC staff to trap and kill entire groups of feral hogs, called sounders. Groups can consist of several dozen animals.

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