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|Hog concerns test landowners, jury|
Crop destruction by feral hogs in Franklin Parish has created a scramble by residents and officials to find ways to deal with an elusive foe.
An informal meeting attracted about 25 farmers, landowners and agriculture related consultants at the Baskin Fire Station Monday night and Franklin Parish Police Jury President Harvey Guimbellot called a special jury meeting for Thursday at the court house beginning at 6 p.m.
The two meetings in a single week were sparked by a public request from landowner Glenn Williams who sponsored a successful hunt, which killed three large hogs, on his property recently.
Several farmers have reported replanting corn as many as three times already this spring to replace rooting hog destruction. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has acknowledged that Franklin Parish is one of four in the state where damage from hogs is considered high.
Guimbellot told the Monday meeting group: "Several people have contacted me about this and hogs can devastate a crop. Now, I know, the taxpayers aren't going to spend the money, it's the same situation we had with the beavers a few years ago. But we need to come up with some kind of solution."
Guimbellot is expected to ask police jury members to support a yet unspecified uniform action against the outbreak.
David Rider of Jena and a DWLF representative told the Monday night gathering of a new program which allows nighttime shooting of feral hog. The application process is stringent, he said, "because you just don't want to have a lot of people running around with lights and rifles at night."
"They are considered a nuisance animal rather than a game animal and you can hunt them on your on property during the day without a permit," Rider said.
"It's not illegal to trap them, but we strongly discourage moving them to another location," he continued.
Scott Watson of the Wildlife agency said the recommended method of eliminating hogs is, "trap and shoot."
Billy Earl Hammons, a Caldwell Parish landowner and hog trapper who attended the meeting, offered advice on the prospect of trapping hogs:
"These are not dumb animals and they move and forage. One farmer can run them off his property, but where do they go? They go over to his place, or his place," he said while pointing to individuals in the room. "We set traps in temporary locations, mostly around the tributaries and bayous and then we move them, but they (traps) have to be made tough or they'll (hogs) tear through them."
"This is the fourth year we've had this problem," said Robert Lee Fletcher and he advocated a strong trapping program to help solve the problem.
Questions were asked Monday night about estimating the number of feral hogs on the loose in the region, the movement of swine in future drier weather. Some speculated that a variety of methods were needed to help control the issue.
In a handout distributed at the Monday meeting, hog behavior is discssed:
"Feral hogs feed during the dayight hours or at night, but if hunting pressure becomes too great during the day, they will remain in heavy cover at that time and feed at night. In periods of hot weather, wild pigs remain in the shade in wallows during the day and feed at night."