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LWF Gives Testimony at Legislature on Feral Hog Problem; Opposes Year Round Night Hunting

March 26, 2014 8:00 PM


On March 26, 2014, LWF’s Executive Director Rebecca Triche spoke to members of the Louisiana House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources and Environment to comment in opposition to HB 353, which would allow year-round day or night hunting of hogs on private property.  LWF’s is concerned that illegal night hunting would be extremely difficult to enforce at night during deer season and the stress on deer populations as well as other game animals.  Testimony:

Good morning. Thank you for allowing me to comment on this bill. I am Rebecca Triche, Executive Director for the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.  Our members are hunters, anglers, paddlers, birders, boaters, hikers and many are all of the above.

We sympathize with the frustrations of landowners and farmers who are dealing with what has become a scourge to many.  We urge legislators to put more resources toward dealing with this problem and help agencies and private land owners work together to develop agreements and coordinated efforts to sufficiently knock back the population.

LWF is very concerned about the increasing number of feral hogs in Louisiana. We hear that the population is estimated at least 700,000.  To even maintain the current population, you have to kill 60%-70% every year. Currently, hunting alone is not coming close to maintaining, much less reducing, the feral hog population. 

LWF respectfully opposes allowing year round night hunting.

We are concerned about stress on deer population with increased movement at night that this will cause in deer season. The same concerns apply to other game animals. 

This would make enforcement of illegal night hunting extremely difficult.

Hunters have to invest in all the high-tech infra-red scopes, suppressors, subsonic ammunition, etc., to be effective at night.   But how many are going to spend up to $15,000 on the firearms and accessories to be successful. 

It's simply not efficient to hunt nuisance species at night during winter months.

Currently, night hunting for nuisance animals is allowed March through August. In the remaining months, a property owner can apply to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for permission for night hunting of nuisance animals.  Please give the Department the opportunity to improve oversight.  It’s not fair to pit the rights of hunters against land owners because the issue is bigger than both and affects both.

If a landowner or land manager can control the population on their property but surrounding property owners are not putting in measures to seriously control the increase in population, or worse, more feral hogs are brought in nearby, the problem is deferred at best. 

Simply put, the problem requires a concerted effort.  And the problem will get worse while land managers and farmers are at best removing a few hogs here and there by trapping or shooting.

It’s clear that once introduced, feral hogs are never going to be eliminated. But they destroy levees, destroy crops, damage habitat for other game animals.  They carry disease that can be transmitted to humans. There is a cost that clearly outweighs the benefits.

From a recent announcement, we know there is a biological agent that could be introduced in a few years. If this works to significantly reduce the population, what little benefit year round night hunting could bring would be marginal. Yet year round night hunting would be legal.

Hogs are the fourth smartest mammal after humans. Unless you corral the whole sounder the ones who escape get smarter at evading traps and hunters. While dealing with the feral hogs that are reproducing 2 and 3 litters a year in a location, people are also transporting them to new locations, creating new problems. That will be addressed in another bill.

Thank you for hearing our concerns about year round night hunting and the problems of controlling the feral hog population. 

Click here to view the LWF position on feral hogs.

For more information on the impacts of feral hogs, please visit the links below.

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