Alabama farmers battle wild hog problem

Published: Jan. 30, 2018 at 4:51 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 30, 2018 at 4:56 PM CST
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This is what the soil looks like after wild hogs damage it. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
This is what the soil looks like after wild hogs damage it. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

AUTAUGA CO., AL (WSFA) - On the southern tip of Rusty Wood's 870 acre farm, the calling card is there courtesy of feral hogs.

"They're coming across the field and rooting up under the ground. Eventually they migrated to central Alabama," said Autauga County cattleman Rusty Wood.

Wood started noticing the problem  three years ago. The most recent visit occurred Monday night, evidence of clear digging was in plain sight. Wood typically plants corn on this piece of land for his cattle.

"The hogs came and rooting under eating roots," Wood said.

The solution is simple; shoot 'em. The problem is farmers like Rusty Wood can't during deer season specifically at night. That's when the hogs roam around.

The Alabama Department of Conservation says hunting hogs at night during deer season is prohibited because it could impact the deer population.  Also, Wood says he was told by a conservation officer:

"There are some unscrupulous hunters out there will take advantage of having a permit and shoot deer," said Wood.

The deer season in Alabama started in mid-October and ends February 10th. Wood does have four, walk-in traps  set up on the property.

"They're effective, but it's only one tool," he said.

The farmer estimates the wild hogs have cost him $18,000 in lost time and revenue and counting.  In fact, ALFA says wild hogs cause around $100 million in damage to Alabama farmers every year and it seems to be getting worse. The $100 million may be on the low side, according to ALFA leaders.

Rusty Wood, meantime,  has the permit to hunt feral hogs at night once deer season ends. Until then, Wood has to stand down against his unwanted visitors for another two weeks.

The department of conservation says night hunting of feral swine is allowed from February 11th through November 8th. Permits are required.

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