Mostly Trapping

Federal help coming to combat wild hog invasion in Baldwin County
Dec 31, 2019 08:57 ET

(Reprinted from above link)

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) — Federal help is coming to Baldwin County and other areas of the state to combat a growing invasion of feral hogs.

Wildlife experts said feral hogs can do extensive damage to property and the environment, and they can attack if provoked.

JJ McCool, biologist and owner of the animal control business Wildlife Solutions in Fairhope, said federal help is needed, but the problem won't be fixed quickly.

"We're not at the eradication point. You can probably throw eradication out the window. We're at the management point," said McCool.

McCool and his crew have been trapping and removing or killing wild hogs for years. He said the need has only increased.

"We get a lot of calls now in places I never thought we would get wild hogs. We get them in golf courses and neighborhoods," McCool said.

The US Department of Agriculture is launching a new program, and devoting more than $3.5 million to combat the feral hog population in Alabama, which has caused damage to property, agriculture and the environment.

The program will focus specifically on six counties, including Baldwin County.

"Their reproductive rate is incredible. They don't have enough natural predators. So they're pretty well unchecked in any ecosystem they invade," said Michael Niemeyer with Wildlife Solutions.

The USDA will provide full-time technicians to work with landowners to remove feral pigs.

McCool is glad the program will help, but he believes the USDA should hire private contractors who are already in place.

"Over time, companies like ours have figured out how to do it efficiently, and cost effectively," McCool said.

The program will also help in other states dealing with the same problem, including in Texas where officials said a woman was killed last month by a pack of wild hogs.

"Where the population is right now, we really don't have a choice. We have to get a handle on it," said McCool.

The program is expected to last for three years.

McCool said it will likely take years to make any dent in the wild hog population.