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Oklahoma Starting Two Pilot Programs This Month to Control Feral Hogs


State officials are hoping they can come up with best practices for driving away feral hogs.

Two pilot programs start this month with the goal of getting landowners and state and federal agencies working together to trap and remove feral hogs. Agriculture Secretary Blayne Arthur said the problem is so bad here, a federal grant is helping fund Oklahoma’s work.

"Oklahoma is actually an F-4 state in regards to feral hogs, which is kind of similar to a tornado, that’s the worst level that we can be at nationally, unfortunately. And so, that’s why those federal dollars are coming here," Arthur said.

The pilot programs will be in Kay County and in Harmon, Jackson, Tillman and Cotton counties. They will involve reaching out to landowners to get access for trapping and removing feral hogs.

Oklahoma and Texas want to establish a feral swine–free zone along the Red River.

Arthur said the most effective tool right now tends to be traps that can be monitored and operated via cell phone, but the best tool is the one that works.

"You’ve got to kind of use all of the tools in your toolbox, because feral hogs are incredibly intelligent and sometimes can outsmart us on, unfortunately, a regular basis," Arthur said.

Feral hogs have been sighted in all 77 Oklahoma counties at one point or another. They cause millions of dollars worth of damage to farms and often upset or destroy native ecosystems.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.