Feral hog cull in Louisiana meets resistance

PEARL RIVER, La. - Wildlife officials in southern Louisiana have begun a program to find and eradicate as many feral hogs as possible.

"They damage the marsh. They damage the upland areas. They compete with deer for acorns and other food resources. They destroy forest regeneration," said Jim LaCour, State Wildlife Veterinarian at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife, during a recent sweep of the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area (WMA.)

Some are not happy about the effort, reports CBS affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans.

La. wildlife officials are hiring marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters to reduce the population.
Steve Fleming, whose family has lived near the WMA for centuries, doesn't agree with the reasons behind wildlife and fisheries' operation, nor the method, which includes hiring marksmen to shoot the hogs from a helicopter, and leave the dead animals where they fall.

"They have put nothing forward to show us that a hog is a problem here," Fleming said. "And if it was -- they were gonna damage stuff, hurricane protection, the levees and have diseases like they said -- I'd be the first to get rid of them, but that's not true."

Hunters, like James Madison, have their own theory as to what's really diminishing the quality of the WMA.

"They have never been willing to work with us on that and take any of our suggestions and now that they've mismanaged it over these years, they believe its become a crisis," Madison said.

Wildlife and Fisheries says they've done operations like this for years across the state, but this year is the first time they've done it in the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area and they expected the backlash.

"These are invasive non-native animals," LaCour said. "They have been on Pearl River

Management Area, or Pearl River in this area for many years. They have an established population and we're trying to reduce those numbers."

It's an effort not everyone agrees with, but continues, for now.