For months I’ve joined property owners, farmers, hunters, and community leaders in fighting a ban on the hunting of feral hogs on public lands and, most recently, in the Mark Twain National Forrest. While some government bureaucracies have continued to push for more and stricter restrictions on the hunting of feral hogs, the majority of Missourians support an “all of the above” approach to the eradication of feral hogs.
These government bureaucracies refuse to listen to the thousands of landowners, farmers, and ranchers feeling the harsh impact of the feral hog problem in our state. They refuse to learn from the trial and error approach other states have taken and recognize that the hunting of feral hogs has a role to play in their eradication. Even worse, measures have been taken to make the transfer, sell, and use of the feral hogs harder and harder. By making the use of the hogs more restrictive, they are trying to further limit the role individual landowners play in hog eradication.
Recently Congressmen Jason Smith joined the ranks of hundreds of his constituents and local lawmakers calling for an “all of the above” approach to hog eradication and an end to the prohibition of feral hog hunting in the Mark Twain National Forrest. I commend Congressman Smith for his strong leadership on this important issue. We understand that by creating “safe spaces” for feral hogs to live and reproduce we will only be increasing their population.
Local landowners and members of the agriculture community deserve a prominent voice in this conversation. Instead, a harmful narrative is being driven by governmental bureaucracies that have a financial incentive to limit local eradication efforts and keep our farmers, ranchers, and property owners out of the conversation. Rural Missourians must stand together and support an “all of the above” approach to feral hog eradication. It is time to end “safe spaces” for feral hogs on public lands.
Chris Dinkins represents Washington, Wayne, Reynolds, and Iron counties in the Missouri House.