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After 726 feral hogs culled on farm, Missouri man says 'I didn't retire to become a pig trapper'_freckle removal machine

2022-07-06 05:42:57 Form:Technology freckle - professional freckle author: click:637
Sara Karnes, Springfield News-Leader·6 min read

REYNOLDS COUNTY, Mo. — Don Kory owns 600 acres on either side of Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. What was supposed to be a farm to enjoy retirement quickly turned into a nightmare 15 years ago.

The culprit? Feral hogs.

"They destroy everything, literally, destroy everything," Kory said.

Kory used to tend gardens on his farm. While others may lament about rabbits, squirrels or deer making off with a few vegetables, Kory said hogs would remake the land.

"You know what happens when the pigs come in?" Kory asked. "The whole entire garden is destroyed and plowed under in one night. We just gave up on gardens because you just couldn't have them anymore."

With 600 acres on either side of Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in Middle Brook, Don Kory said feral hogs "destroyed" everything on his farm.
With 600 acres on either side of Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in Middle Brook, Don Kory said feral hogs "destroyed" everything on his farm.

Kory called the Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership and the Department of Conservation to tell them there were pigs on his property.

"If somebody would have told me I'm just gonna take 726 pigs off my property, I'd told them they were nuts," Kory said. "But, since we started, that's how many I've taken off there."

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Kory started gardening again. He built a corral and laid fencing to keep the feral hogs out.

A grassy area torn up by feral hogs over winter at the Council Bluff Recreation Area in Mark Twain National Forest.
A grassy area torn up by feral hogs over winter at the Council Bluff Recreation Area in Mark Twain National Forest.

"They come right out and root up into the fence and try to get through to the garden, but they don't get in," Kory said.

While the garden is thriving now, Kory's diligence against the feral hogs remains constant.

"It's been a long, hard battle," Kory said. "I didn't retire to become a pig trapper."

Traps, infrared cameras, drones have helped find sounders

The Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership includes more than 15 federal and state agencies along with agriculture and conservation organizations.

An example trap set up at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.
An example trap set up at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park.

The partnership killed 9,857 feral hogs in 2021, bringing the total number of hogs killed since 2016 to more than 54,000. For 2019, 10,495 hogs were killed and 12,635 in 2020. The partnership employs 10 full-time trappers along with educators through the University of Missouri's Extension Program.

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