The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry today adopted its proposed rules to eradicate feral hogs. The new rules create a feral swine-free zone which includes 10 northwest Oklahoma counties. They also increase recordkeeping requirements for transporting, handling and sporting facilities. Restrictions on bringing feral swine into the state also are made permanent by the rule.
From the beginning, Oklahoma Farm Bureau found the rules incomplete, although ODAFF claims the rules will “adopt aggressive measures for the eradication of feral swine in the state of Oklahoma.”
“ODAFF’s feral hog rules don’t go far enough,” said Marla Peek, OKFB director of regulatory affairs. “As long as we have trophy hunting, we are giving feral hogs a value. As long as they have a value, there is a disincentive to do anything about eradication.”
Sport hunters kill only an estimated 30,000 feral hogs per year, compared to the 980,000 needed to control the population, Peek said.
“Feral hog trophy hunting is not going to get us there,” she said. “What we need is true eradication. We need ODAFF to represent agriculture and the losses we’re having across the state including ruined hay fields, crops being eaten, and damage to facilities and equipment.”
ODAFF claimed the rules create fees to provide traps to conservation districts, but the fees are “very low and not enough to pay for the program,” Peek said.
The Noble Foundation’s BoarBuster trap costs nearly $6,000, plus an estimated $69 per month for cellular service. License fees from the rules charge sport hunters only $25 per year.
Feral hogs have invaded each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties with a 2007 estimated population of between 617,000 and 1.4 million. To prevent the population from growing, at least 70 percent of the feral hogs must be eradicated each year. The invasive species cost farmers and ranchers in the U.S. an estimated $1.5 billion annually.
ODAFF’s rules now head to the state legislature for approval.