LAWTON, Ok (RNN Texoma) -On Wednesday morning state and federal groups held a meeting for farmers and ranchers in several counties about how to deal with the growing problem of feral hogs, and the impact they have on crops and livestock.
It was a packed house this morning and on top of gaining valuable information from experts. Farmers also learned about how much a hog can eat everyday, to their strong sense of smell and ways to properly get rid the carcass. To top things off they even got a live demonstrations of how to trap hogs. One farmer said he couldn't even grow hay because these animals, but after today's meeting he has a different mindset.
Josh Gaskamp is a Wildlife Range and Consultant from the Noble Research Center. He said there are close to a million feral hogs in the state of Oklahoma.
They are one of the smartest animals in North America who can produce at a high rate and cause several problems for farmers.
"They cause about 1.5 billion dollars in agriculture damage in the U.S. ever years," Gaskamp said.
Danny Marlett is a farmer in Cotton County and knows first hand how destructive the hogs can be. From March until September of last year he caught close to 100 hogs.
"I have a small hay patch that I do for my cattle and last year I wasn't able to hay at all because I really didn't want to invite someone in to do my valley and tear up their equipment. It's pretty bad the ruts they made and the damage to the grounds," Marlett said.
Marlett said he's used small box trap to catch the hogs and while the process is slow, he said it's still tough to control the population in the area. He along with other farmers at today's meeting learned about the different ways to use a corral and box trap or drop net to catch the animals.
Gaskamp believes the Boar Buster is the most effective method. It's a suspension trap that allows use to use your smart phone to activate the doors to close, trapping the hogs inside. The devices are just shy of $6,000 dollars, but Gaskamp is hoping farmers will work together to stop the problem.
"One farmer is not going to control all the pigs in this area For example if I have 100 acres and I control 100 percent of the hogs in that 100 acres and my neighbors do nothing we've collectively done nothing," Gaskamp said.
"I'm going to try and coordinate with my neighbors a little more and maybe even try to coop possibly this boar buster type trap that the Noble Foundation developed, so we are going to consider that and see if we can control the hogs a little better," Marlett said.
A speaker from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation said feral hogs can adjust and live anywhere and eat just about anything including other livestock and plants. On top of that they bring diseases that can threaten wildlife.