An estimated 10,000 feral hogs root up and roam the Ozarks, and the Missouri Conservation Department wants to get rid of them. Shoot 'em on sight, yes. Hunt them, no.
A few years ago, they invaded Greg Stevens' property near Sparta. "They're a pretty big nuisance. They tear up the ground and eating all the acorns, turkey eggs; I think they kill deer fawns," Stevens told KY3 in 2009.
He caught multiple wild hogs on his game camera. Some may be the products of free-range farming long ago. Others may have been illegally released.
Francis Scalicky of the Missouri Department of Conservation says, "It causes a lot of damage in the outdoors. Its wallowing ruins habitat. It can nudge other animals out of a habitat. It can pass diseases on to domestic hogs. However you slice it, we don't want feral hogs in Missouri."
Conservation agents say shoot them on sight, but don't go hunting for them on public land. "What's happening, sometimes, maybe we have hogs on bait. We have a group of hogs identified, and a hunter would go in there, maybe get two or three, but really mess up what could have been a larger elimination, a larger kill," says Scalicky.
A hunter could chase hogs away from the bait. "It's a well-intentioned effort to get rid of them, but it actually can do more harm than good in the broader picture," Scalicky says.
But if they're in your own back yard- Scalicky says they're fair game. "Yeah, if you have them on your land, shoot them. Get rid of them; that's fine," says Scalicky.
Whether to cook the wild game is up to you. "As long as the meat is cooked through and through, it should be good," Scalicky says.
Hunters in search of other game are still encouraged to shoot wild hogs on sight, and don't need a permit.