Feral hogs are a big problem for Thomas Co. farmers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Feral hogs are a big problem for Thomas Co. farmers

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THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) –Farmers constantly deal with challenges that can hurt their harvests, from insects to bad weather.

Now, some South Georgia farmers are adding wild hogs to that list because they are destroying crops and eating up farmers' profits. Now farmers are fighting back.

Not since the boll weevil has something been so destructive to crops. Feral hogs can cost farmers thousands of dollars per acre of destroyed crops.

"They eat what's in the ground. But in order to do it they dig and dig and dig. And I've heard of people burying something that attracts the hogs a foot or two or three in the ground and they come back the next morning and they'll be a spot 20 foot by 20 foot and 4 feet deep and they've dug all the way down just to get that food," says Jonathan Gandy, manager of American Pawn Shop in Thomasville.

And beyond crop destruction, hogs pose another threat... to humans.

"They're protective, especially if they have babies," Gandy explains. "They're going to run from you at first like most any other animal. But if you get on cornered and it feels in danger, it'll come after you. And they can hurt you.'

Farmers can't do much to stop hogs from invading their land. In Georgia, it's illegal to use poison to kill them.

Because farmers cannot poison the hogs, they're turning to other methods to take care of the problem. Some hire hunters while others do the hunting themselves.

In a special report aired on WALB, we showed you a company that takes farmers and thrill seekers out to do a little hog control. Officials say one pig can have three litters a year with up to twelve piglets in each. And those baby pigs can turn around and start reproducing their own litters in just one year.

"If you had a termite problem in your house, do you care that the pest control company kills the pregnant termites and the baby termites?" hog hunter Ron Pinkston poses. "No. You want the termites out of your house, because that is your biggest investment. The farmer feels the same way."

And they want these four-legged pests out of their crops. Farmers in Thomas County tell us they hope the Department of Natural Resources will step in to help with the growing problem.

In the meantime, many farmers are allowing hog hunters to hunt on their land free of charge to control their population.

  • Here are some more details on the destruction wild hogs cause in Georgia:

They are a nightmare for farmers and wildlife managers. Farmers can forget about having a successful crop with the hogs around.

They love rice, sorghum, wheat, corn, soybeans, peanuts, potatoes, watermelon, and cantaloupe.

They compete for food with other wildlife, so they can ruin deer management programs.

And by sharing the food supply, they also share diseases with other wildlife.

Bird hunters won't like this one: they will destroy quail and turkey nests and eat their eggs.

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