This month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS) issued a closure order on the Mark Twain National Forest (MTNF) to make interagency feral swine trapping efforts as effective as possible. The Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) and many organizations across Missouri applaud the announcement and the continued attention to this threat to Missouri’s natural resources.
“This decision comes with numerous state and federal agencies working to eliminate feral hogs,” says Tyler Schwartze, Executive Director of CFM. “This closure supports efforts to protect soil and water, wildlife, people, and all of the natural resources that so many Missourians care deeply about.”
The effort is supported by many Missouri conservation and agriculture organizations that are part of the Missouri Feral Hog Eradication Partnership, including the Missouri Soybean Association.
“Feral hogs are a serious problem in Missouri and must be eradicated,” says Missouri Soybean Association CEO Gary Wheeler. “The responsible path forward is to eradicate this invasive species and close the door to reintroduction.”
Feral hogs’ rooting and feeding behavior contributes to soil erosion, reduced water quality, and causes significant damage to waterways, cropland, pasture and hayfields, wrote Wheeler earlier this year. Feral hogs also have the potential to spread disease and parasites to people, pets, livestock and wildlife – including Brucellosis, eradicated from Missouri’s pork industry more than 20 years ago – far outweighing the economics and traditions of recreational hog hunting.
Susan Flader, President of the L-A-D Foundation, commented, “We are very encouraged that the Mark Twain has decided to proceed with its proposed closure of the forest to hog hunting. Missouri must win this fight, and this most recent decision doubles the acreage of public land closed to hog hunting and adds significant agency support for the trapping effort.”
Many public land agencies put a stop to hog hunting on those lands in 2016. However, Mark Twain National Forest was not among those lands. This announcement marks a significant step forward in the effort to eradicate feral hogs across Missouri. In western Missouri, state and federal partners have nearly eliminated feral hogs through concentrated trapping efforts and a prohibition on hog hunting on public land in the area.
To learn more about the decision to close the MTNF to hog hunting, click here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mtnf/landmanagement/?cid=FSEPRD629017.