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Details asked in feral hog survey

by Special to The Commercial | April 26, 2021 at 2:04 a.m.
An adult female feral hog trots with her piglets in a Buffalo National River media photo.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, in partnership with the state's Feral Hog Task Force, is seeking input from Arkansans regarding their experiences with feral hogs.

The task force incorporates participation and support from the Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and several other partner organizations. Its goal is the eradication of feral hogs, an invasive pest that wreaks havoc on crops, property and natural resources, according to a news release.

Agents and associates with the Cooperative Extension Service, which is leading many of the task force's public survey efforts, will be contacting landowners in areas where feral swine pilot projects are being conducted in the state.

These include Ashley, Arkansas, Drew, Hempstead, Howard, Sevier, Yell, Logan, Sebastian, Marion, Baxter and Izard counties.

Becky McPeake, professor of wildlife extension for the Division of Agriculture, said participation is encouraged, even among landowners who have had no direct contact with feral hogs.

"If you get a feral hog survey in the mail, please take a few minutes to answer the questions, even if you have nothing much to report at the time," McPeake said. "Your answers will help inform the task force partners and federal funders about the impacts of trapping in your area.

"We will also be calling some landowners who are receiving trapping services from their Conservation District trappers," she said.

The survey will be conducted several times over the next few years to track changes in reported damages.

"Hopefully we will see less and less damage as trapping efforts increase," McPeake said. "In parts of the state where feral hogs are numerous, survey results may indicate even more effort is needed."

Additionally, landowners anywhere in the state can report the number of feral hogs removed from their property by using the Feral Hog Survey 1-2-3 app. To download, visit https://www.agriculture.arkansas.gov/arkansas-department-of-agriculture-services/feral-hog/.

Arkansans who can't access the app can contact their local county extension office for assistance, and a cooperative extension agent will report the information.

Ryan Farney, feral hog coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said that all landowners, hunters and feral hog trappers in the state should report their sightings and removals of feral hogs at the Feral Hog Survey 1-2-3 app.

"We need to learn more about feral hog sightings and removals in the state," Farney said.

Landowners who have feral hogs on their property can contact USDA APHIS Wildlife Services at 501-835-2318. They are leading a statewide effort at feral hog removal, one pig at a time.

Residents interested in learning how to use a cellular trapping system should contact their local Cooperative Extension Service office. A team of extension agents located throughout the state coordinates feral hog trapping, and can help residents learn best practices. More information about feral hogs is available at local county extension offices. Property owners may also call to volunteer demonstration sites.

To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact a local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit uaex.uada.edu. Follow the agency on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.

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