Monday, July 23, 2018

Wild Hogs Are No Match for Helicopters

         I have heard a great deal from readers after the column last week concerning last week’s column about wild hogs.  There is a lot of outrage concerning the Conservation Department’s new regulations banning the hunting of feral hogs. As one reader told me, “I don’t want to hunt the things, I want to get rid of them. I will be darned if they are gonna tell me I have to let them be.”

         The idea that you shouldn’t be shooting feral hogs is silly, unless there is indeed a trapping program going on, and then it is best to let them be.  And if the Department had any common sense they would stop making stupid regulations like that, and send crews around to private landowners to teach them how to do their own trapping.  A friend of mine from Harrison Arkansas learned all that on his own and trapped hundreds of feral hogs in north Arkansas.  There is nothing complicated about it.

         I guess there is indeed a better way.  The MDC killed 43 wild hogs on Bass Pro Shop land  next to the Osage River, owned by Johnny Morris, from their helicopter over a couple of weeks not too far back. 

         MDC spokesman Rex Martensen told me over the phone that pilots would circle the land and MDC employees in the helicopter would shoot hogs they found from the helicopter.  He said Morris paid nothing, they just wanted to help him out!
         He wouldn’t give me an estimate as to the expense of the employee salaries over that time, nor how many hours it took, but local residents say they saw the helicopter for at least two weeks.  According to Martensen the cost of the helicopter use is about 200 dollars per hour!  Boy what an economical helicopter!  That means that if they spent ten days on the project for Bass Pro Shops, figure what that cost the taxpayers and license payers of Missouri.  It cost 400 per day just to fly it from Jefferson City to the Osage River and back each day… a cost of around 4,000 dollars.  Then if it was in the air just 6 more hours each day, the total cost goes to 160,000 dollars without even figuring the employee salaries (and all that rifle ammo)! Don’t expect to have that kind of free work done for just ordinary folks.  All that to eliminate 43 hogs on Mr. Morris’s private hunting area.

         If the MDC won’t do that for you and you want to get rid of hogs on your land, you won’t do it by hunting, no matter how good you are.
Even with dogs, you can’t get enough of them to eliminate a substantial population.  Now the MDC does not want you to put out corn for bait.  Without that you can’t trap enough of them to make a drop in the bucket.

         Hog trapping is simple but you have to ignore that new regulation about corn and use it as bait. Most landowners ignore it anyway. Learn how to do it yourself.  If you can build a pen, you can trap hogs.

         What makes it difficult is that tremendous reproductive potential of those hogs, and the fact that their sense of smell, and hearing is so great.  They have more intelligence than anything else in the woods, right up there with the smartest of dogs, and those people in the offices at Jefferson City.
         I have a stack of news releases from the Missouri Department of Conservation which gives among other things, the timber sales they are involved in on public land owned by you and I and the other citizens of the state.  If you think these areas are to be managed for the preservation of mature woodlands in a natural state for all of us to enjoy, for the propagation of wild game and wild birds, you might consider these timber sales figures that are taken from those releases that come from MDC Commission MONTHLY meetings…..  Multiply these figures by twelve!

      “ Recommendation to advertise and sell from state-owned wildlife management and conservation areas….1,147,379 board feet of lumber, 716,948 board feet of lumber, 3,312,753 board feet of lumber. 1,384,300 board feet of lumber,1,102,322 board feet of lumber, 1,453,200 board feet of lumber, 1,632,624 board feet of lumber….”.  Logging companies and the M.D.C. make lots of money from the trees all of us own.

         With these there are all sorts of land sales and purchases and trades too numerous to list in one column.  If you are thinking of someday protecting an acreage of beautiful natural Ozark land that means a lot to you, don’t think about donating it to the Department of Conservation.  The trees can be sold; your donated land can even be sold and traded to developers and individuals.
         If you have read this column in a newspaper, call them and thank them for not being afraid to print what is happening.  Of the fifty newspapers receiving this column, there are nearly 20 which will print nothing not approved by the MDC.  The above is all true, but it cannot be printed in any large newspaper and many smaller ones. You can read all about that in my fall issue of the Lightnin”Ridge Outdoor magazine. That is the power the MDC has.  And sadly, any work Johnny Morris wants done on his land will be taken care of by the MDC---at NO CHARGE. That has gone on for years… he has received MILLIONS from all of us over the years, via the MDC.

Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, MO. 65613 or email me at  Past columns, and this one, can be read, unaltered at  If you have stories about valid experiences with the Conservation Department, I will print them in my magazine and my upcoming book on what they are doing.  Just call me at 417 777 5227.

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