During a regular meeting March 6, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission received an update on federal and state efforts to control feral swine across the state.
Scott Alls, Oklahoma state director of Wildlife Services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), told Commissioners that any thought of eradicating feral swine in Oklahoma is probably unrealistic.
A pilot project to remove feral swine using Farm Bill funding started in 2019 in Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Tillman, and Kay counties. Osage, Pawnee, Roger Mills, and Beckham counties have been added to the project area. Alls said APHIS uses five helicopters in aerial shooting and has about 100 remotely activated traps being used on about 1.2 million acres under agreement.
To facilitate the pilot project’s research, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation closed hog shooting year-round on Hackberry Flat, Kaw, Sandy Sanders and Waurika wildlife management areas.
Since 2019, the project has removed about 11,000 feral swine, averting an estimated $4.3 million in agricultural damage. Alls said the prime obstacle in swine removal has been many landowners refusing to participate, as they are using feral hogs to sell hunting leases.
Alls said this pilot project along with other statewide efforts to remove feral swine produce much greater benefits than what could be gained from hunting.