Wild hogs caught in Land Between the Lakes

LYON COUNTY, KY —  Wild hogs damage farmland, and people are seeing them in some Local 6 counties.

Twenty-six wild hogs have been caught in the Tennessee portion of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

Once the hogs establish themselves, it’s harder to get them out.

Rod Murphy calls his corn, soybean, wheat and tobacco farm his home. “I’ve farmed my whole life. I’ve never filled out a job application,” Murphy said. “We actually own some land my great grandfather bought in 1900. This has been going on a long time.”

Murphy said farmers already have enough to worry about.

“We have enough problems with the weather, the markets without having this problem with the hogs,” Murphy said.

His wheat crop serves two purposes. It’s a grain crop, but also a cover crop. Murphy said that a herd of hogs could easily destroy the whole crop area, plus his others.

Conservation Specialist Chris Stewart grew up in Louisiana. He knows that farmland and hay fields are prime targets for wild hogs.

“They can be aggressive, and they carry diseases,” Stewart said. “No good can come from them getting established here.”

Stewart said the hogs breed at a faster rate than the average animal, which is twice a year.

“If they get established and start breeding and populating, it’ll be quick,” Stewart said. “That’s 24 a year. Do the math on having five or 10 get in here real quick.”

Wild hogs are omnivores, which means they can eat anything. Stewart says they’ll be plowing through the farmland.

“We’re so agriculture-related,” Stewart said. “The habitat and the food is here. I’m not a wildlife biologist, but I can’t see them leaving any time soon if they got established.”

They’re trying to haul the hogs out before they hunker down. The Tennessee and Kentucky Wildlife offices and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service tell Land Between the Lakes they will have to do more than just trap the hogs.

Leaders in Trigg and Lyon counties are working to find solutions before the problem gets out of hand.

For more on this story and others, follow Pauline Fitzgerald on Facebook or Twitter.

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