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Feral Hogs an Increasing Problem for Farmers, Drivers

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COMANCHE CO., Okla_ Feral Hogs have proven to be a huge problem for farmers here in southwest Oklahoma.

They are big. With no predator, they can eat what they want, go where they want and destroy whatever they want. The hogs are beginning to move closer to town, presenting a problem for drivers.

In just one week, there have been two serious wrecks in southwest Oklahoma because of hogs in the road. Unfortunately, their numbers are growing, even though some are doing all they can to help.

As our news crew was on the hunt Wednesday night, the expert was quick to point out that he'd seen hogs in a field. Just across the street from where he spotted the hogs was a group of houses. That's how close some residents could be to having a very dangerous animal show up in their backyard.

Bobby Dale catches Feral Hogs and let our crew tag along. He is a professional, and he always asks for permission before going on someone's land. When he does get on the land, he and his dogs get the job done.

Whenever his dogs smell a pig, they bark. They go crazy until Dale let's them loose. The dogs have on GPS tracking devices, and they head out into the woods. Next is The Waiting Game. Dale tracks his dogs on the device and listens for their bark. Sometimes, it takes a while.

"They can't shut him down," Dale said. "That means he's going to be a big one."

The dogs work to "bay" the hog. In other words, they surround the hog and don't let him run away. When that happens, Dale goes into the woods himself with two other dogs. Our news crew was just seconds behind when Dale and his partner reached the hog and pulled their dogs off it.

"Big pig," Dale said. "Good hog."

We look on as some of the others work to tie up the estimated 300-pound beast.

Dale said it's an adrenaline rush like no other.

"That's how it's done right there," Dale said. "It took a while, but we got a hold of him."

The journey ends Dale and his dogs make their way back through the woods, with their hog, who is just a little stunned. Bobby Dale takes the pig home to sell him.

A couple of bills are working their way through both the House and Senate that would allow fixed-wing air crafts or helicopters to be used in eradicating Feral Hogs. That wouldn't mean the end of hog hunters like Dale. It would just be another way of getting rid of the problem.

Feral Hogs are such a problem here that Temple started a "Go Wild Hog Fest" three years ago to help eliminate as many hogs as possible. The event, which begins Friday evening, includes a 24-hour hog hunt, as well as numerous other festivities for non hunters.

For more information call 580-284-8060 or go to www.gowildhogfest.com.



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