Oklahoma’s rapidly rising feral hog population has prompted a new study to assess the reproductive and ranging patterns of the wild swine.
Feral hogs – defined by law as any hog without a known owner that is running at large – have been around eastern Oklahoma for years. Previous laws that restricted hunters from harvesting feral hogs allowed the population to swell and spread across the state.
Researchers with the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, an Ardmore-based organization dedicated to improving agriculture production techniques and advancing plant science, initially mapped the feral hog population in 1996.
The foundation’s comprehensive study found high density feral hog populations primarily in southeastern and southern Oklahoma. Free-ranging swine populations were found to a lesser extent in Adair, Cherokee and Sequoyah counties in eastern Oklahoma.
David Rempe, an Oklahoma State University senior studying wildlife ecology and participating as an intern with the Noble Foundation’s feral hog research project, says his initial research revealed the wild swine population has spread into all 77 Oklahoma counties.
According to the Noble Foundation’s initial study, there are a number of unknown variables related to the state’s feral hog population. An excerpt from the study, which can be found online, states “feral hogs are an ecological black box.”
While many sportsmen enjoy hunting wild swine, Rempe says the creatures often compete for food with other game animals and can wreak havoc on cultivated crops.
Follow this link for more information about the Robert Samuel Noble Foundation’s feral hog research.
Source: Muskogee (Oklahoma) Phoenix/news article