(Farmington) The Missouri Feral Hog Elimination Partnership eliminated 10,495 feral hogs from Missouri in 2019 and will increase efforts in 2020 as multiple agencies will now begin working together.

Partnership members participating in on-the-ground trapping efforts include the U.S. Forest Service, Missouri Department of Conservation, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services and the L.A.D. Foundation.

Jason Jensen with the conservation department tells us about the new strategy to combat these nuisance animals.

According to a news release from the Missouri Department of Conservation, land management agencies used public recreational hunting as the primary means by which to eliminate feral swine in Missouri from the early 1990s until 2016.

Recreational hunting proved to be an ineffective strategy that resulted in the further spread and establishment of additional populations of feral hogs.

Beginning in 2016, agencies involved in the Partnership significantly increased feral swine removal efforts and put in place hunting prohibitions consistent with the Statewide Strategic Plan for Feral Hog Elimination.

This has resulted in the total elimination of feral swine from 116 watersheds totaling over 2.7 million acres previously occupied by feral hogs across Missouri.

Although the feral hog problem in Missouri increased in the 1990s when hog hunting for recreation gained popularity, DNA research suggests the feral hog population has since spread via truck and trailer, not through natural migration of the species.

As groups began raising and promoting European wild boar for hunting, some of them were released intentionally on public land.

For security reasons, the Partnership says it will not release locations and exact dates of trapping operations.