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Invasive Species: Feral Hogs Not Hunted in Missouri, Officials Say

Feb 16, 2016 01:46 PM EST

Missouri game officials recently warned hunters not to shoot feral hogs in the state, saying that if one pig is shot, others in the surrounding pack scatter farther across the landscape and become more wary of traps and other ways to control this invasive species, according to an Associated Press article. 

"With their high reproductive rate, removing one or two hogs does not help to reduce populations. Anyone who observes a feral hog or damage caused by feral hogs should report it to the Conservation Department rather than shooting the animal so we can work together towards eradication," notes the Missouri Department of Conservation website

The wild hogs, which are Eurasian in origin and were introduced intentionally or accidentally by humans to North America in the early 20th century and at other times, do collossal damage to a landscape, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. 

To be more specific, the pigs reproduce quickly, will eat many species of native wildlife, compete for food with turkey, deer, black bear and other native wildlife, carry diseases that most domesticated pigs do not have, and can destroy 20-30 acres of land overnight, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation website. They have been reported in 45 states, according to the Mississippi State University Agricultural Extension website. 

All in all, these hogs are estimated to cause $1.5 billion a year in property damage nationally, says the Missouri website.

Currently, Texas and Florida in particular have big hog problems, although the feral pigs are wreaking havoc in many states, according to a USDA map. In Texas, their annual damage to agriculture has been conservatively estimated at $52 million, according to the Texas A&M Agricultural Extension website.

That's partly because bad-habit pigs are no small-potatoes: They average 200 pounds for adult males and 175 pounds for adult females.

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-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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