Letter to the Editor

Feral hogs proposal is important

Missouri has a big problem with feral hogs. They damage natural resources, destroy crops and pastures, carry disease, and threaten wildlife and livestock. That will get worse unless we do something different.

The L-A-D Foundation and Pioneer Forest own and manage land in several counties in southeast Missouri and we have struggled using both hunting and trapping for the past decade, so we are now focusing on trapping entire packs and closing our lands to hog hunting. Hog eradication has only begun to be successful recently in areas where hunting has been prohibited. Shooting individual hogs scatters the hogs and greatly interferes with efforts to trap entire groups.

We support the cooperative statewide eradication effort of public agencies and others, including the proposed moratorium on hog hunting on the Mark Twain National Forest (MTNF) with which we share miles of boundary. The MTNF is the state's largest landholding, and we know that hogs continue to spread from there to adjoining lands despite trapping efforts. Unfortunately, public response to the recent MTNF proposal has included a discouraging misinformation campaign led by a relatively small number of avid hog hunters seeking to perpetuate their sport.

Eradicating feral hogs is nearly everyone's expressed goal, including Congressman Jason Smith and the Missouri Farm Bureau. The MTNF proposal has been carefully considered and is supported by many public agencies, agricultural and conservation organizations, landowners and others. If it succeeds, it will be good for farmers, hunters, and all Missourians.

SUSAN FLADER, president, L-A-D Foundation, Columbia, Missouri