On April 9, it was announced that the National Feral Swine Management Program is providing Louisiana with $300,000 to combat the ever-growing feral pig population, which the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission estimates to be 500,000 in Louisiana.
In Morehouse Parish, a large wild swine population presents problems along the Bastrop Ridge.
“Farmlands adjacent to that ridge are more affected than others in the parish,” said LSU AgCenter Extension Agent Terry Erwin.
Area farmers welcomed the news.
“I'm all for it. Any kind of help we can get,” said Chris Carter, a Collinston-area farmer, “I've never experienced anything quite like it. The last five years in particular. They destroy our crops as soon as they are planted, especially corn.”
The pigs also cause problems with soil conservation efforts.
“They destroy our erosion control structures: rows, levees, grade stabilization,” Carter said.
In an effort to keep the wild swine population from destroying his crops, Carter purchased a thermal scope for his rifle and has killed approximately 125 wild pigs over the past 1.5 years.
Sterlington-area farmer Boyd Holley expanded on the thermal scope and rifle hunting method and developed a barrel feeder that distributes feed to the animals gradually, which keeps the swine occupied longer and allows for easier extermination. Holley estimates that he has killed 300 since 2009.
Holley also offered insight into the genetic makeup of the feral swine in Northeast Louisiana.
“Russian stock bred with the domestic pigs and has created a total nocturnal animal,” said Holley.
It isn't yet clear how the new funds will be used, but a long-term solution is needed to keep the population down year after year.
“One thing that really, really needs to happen is for it to be illegal to transport a live feral hog,” Holley said.