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Feral hog population on the rise in Arkansas

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (AP)--Feral hog populations in Arkansas are growing, and wildlife officials are concerned about the damage the animals are doing to wilderness areas.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Officer Chris Majors said damage by the hogs is evident in all 75 counties in the state.

Majors told the Baxter Bulletin newspaper in Mountain Home that the hog population in Arkansas is "exploding.'' He said the problem is so severe in Texas and Oklahoma that lawmakers there have legalized shooting the animals from helicopters.

Majors, who is based in Calico Rock, said trapping the hogs could help reduce their numbers. He said the state has no hard numbers on its feral hog population, but he said that it's exploding.

"If everyone who has hogs on their land would learn how to trap safely, and use traps, that would help,'' Majors said. "Landowners are more inclined to shoot them, but it's just not as efficient. If you see a group of 10, you might get one with a gun.''

Last year at the National Conference on Feral Hogs in St. Louis, scientists discussed issues ranging from protecting agricultural lands from feral hogs to eradication measures that included trapping and leaving food laced with contraceptive chemicals for hogs.

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