Missouri Cattlemen Want Options to Eliminate Feral Hogs - Thermal Imagery and Night Vision Needed to Deal with Feral Hogs
Jeff Reed, a cattle producer from Williamsville, Missouri, has witnessed firsthand the economic impact of destructive feral hogs that are frequent inhabitants on his Wayne County ranch. According to Reed, who testified Monday, January 27, 2020, at the Missouri House of Representatives' Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, the best time to eliminate feral hogs is during the night when they are on the move. In order to do this effectively, Reed argues that access to thermal imagery and night vision is essential.
"This comes down to being able to protect our private property without needless bureaucracy," said Reed, who testified on behalf of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association in favor of Rep. Chris Dinkins (R-144) HB 1292. "As far as damages from feral hogs that I can prove and document, I am somewhere between $40,000 and $50,000.
"Rep. Dinkins legislation allows landowners or people they grant permission to use night vision or thermal imagery devices to eliminate feral hogs from Missouri's landscape. While the Missouri Department of Conservation argues that landowners already have that right, Reed and other landowners question the clarity of the regulation and the need for permission from the Department.
"I shouldn't have to ask permission to protect my property or to have someone else assist in protecting it," said Reed. "That is unneeded bureaucracy and doesn't help the end-goal that we share with the Department and that is eradicating these hogs. We want them gone."
According to MCA Policy and Legislative Affairs Committee Chair Jimmie Long, the members of the organization modified its feral hog policy on January 12, 2020, at the Missouri Cattle Industry Convention in Columbia. The policy favors the use of thermal imagery and night vision for the purpose of eliminating feral hogs and allowing landowners to protect their property and livestock.
"We not only support the use of this technology for feral hogs but also predators that prey on livestock," said Long. "It shouldn't be a battle to protect your property and livestock. It is just commonsense. We look forward to working with all agencies and organizations that share the goal of eliminating these hogs from our state."