By Ronnie Weston| May 31, 2012 at 9:58 PM CDT - Updated June 27 at 5:50 AM
LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – The weather is summer-like, and little is going on in the way of hunting. Yes, squirrel season is open.
Feral hogs can be your target, however. One condition is they must be on private land where the rules are liberal. Feral hogs can be shot day or night, year-round and with any weapon. There are no limits on the number of hogs someone can take.
Permission of private landowners is needed. The AGFC suggests that landowners serious about removing hogs should consider trapping.
No hog hunting is allowed on public lands like wildlife management areas except during an open hunting season and with weapons allowed for that season. It is legal for hunters to shoot hogs with a .22 mag while out squirrel hunting on WMAs.
Why should feral hogs be killed? Here are some reasons from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission:
*Habitat destruction – Feral hogs root for food and wallow, and this destroys vegetation, ruins water holes used by other wildlife and contributes to erosion.
*Damage to endangered or sensitive plant/animal communities – Feral hogs can cause major, sometimes irreparable, damage to small, fragile habitats, such as acid seeps in the Ouachitas and cedar glades in the Ozarks.
*Disease – Feral hogs can carry brucellosis and pseudorabies, both of which can spread to livestock. Some diseases carried by feral hogs can be transmitted to humans. Gloves should always be worn when handling feral hogs.
*Direct competition with native wildlife – Deer, squirrels, ducks, turkeys, bears and many other species depend on acorns. Hogs also love acorns and are very efficient at finding them (often tearing up wildlife habitat in the process).
*Crop loss – Hogs often cause heavy damage to row crops, gardens, flower beds, pine plantations, orchards, tree farms and pastures.
*Trespass – It is illegal to release hogs or pigs on any public land. Feral hogs may be released only onto private land that is adequately fenced to prevent them from escaping. The Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission has additional regulations regarding disease testing, slaughter and identification of all hogs, including feral hogs.