Feral hogs have been moving into the state of Missouri and causing many problems. The damage property and can even spread disease to humans, pets, and livestock. These animals have been known to carry diseases such as swine brucellosis, pseudorabies, trichinosis, and leptospirosis. They are the source of serious problems that land managers face. Feral hogs root and wallow on the ground which causes severe destruction in small periods of time. Their feeding behaviors contribute to soil erosion, decrease water quality and damage crops and hayfields. Additionally, they destroy sensitive natural areas such as glades and springs. Because these wild hogs are not native to Missouri, they should be eliminated quickly. There have been sightings across the state along with established populations in several Missouri counties. Feral Hogs can breed any time of the year which enables them to produce efficiently and increase in population rapidly. The females can mature at 6 months and will produce two litters a year and averaging six piglets per litter. Furthermore, this allows feral hog populations to double in as little as four months. These animals can reach up to three feet in height at the shoulder and five feet in length. They can reach up to 400 pounds, but an average sow is 110 pounds and boars 130 pounds. The feral hog problem arouse in the 1990s when hog hunting for fun began to gain popularity. Groups began raising European wild boars to hunt on licensed shooting areas. Not long before many of these hogs escaped or were released intentionally on public land. Since hogs are highly adaptable and breed so rapidly, the Conservation Department was receiving damage complaints from landowners. Although it is not suggested to hunt specifically for feral hogs, hunters should shoot them on sight. No permit is needed to kill them except during deer and turkey season.
Here is a link to the University of Missouri that explains more about feral hogs and what we can do to reduce their population and destruction of our land.
Either we have bought land of our own or know someone who has; we all know how the prices of land have been continually increasing over the past decade. Many experts say that the price of land is going to start leveling off from the increase in values. Farms incomes is the most important element to the fluctuating farm land values and what happens to those will have a direct affect. With the incomes being so unpredictable lately, we have had to look at previous land booms to try and forecast what could unfold. From 1990 to 1920 the rising corn prices sent some land up almost 500%. The State Historical Society described this first boom period: “For agriculture this was prosperity piled on top of prosperity.” The second land value boom was from 1973 to 1981 increasing some land by 345% causing the price to jump from $482 to $2147 an acre. This was fueled by the rapid increase in commodity prices caused by the opening of major export markets. There are three factors that are happening now that has similarities of the past booms. One is the fact that the booms are driven by increasing prices and returns. Also, the idea that land’s value little to no downsides. Additionally, the way the general economy and society as a whole with the Great Depression and the financial hit that caused the farm crisis. Ultimately, the relationship between the past farmland boom periods and today are features that help us to look into the future of the land prices. Farm income is still the deciding factor on if the land market will rise or fall.
For the past fifteen years my dad has traveled to South Dakota to hunt pheasant. He goes with a group of about thirty men and some of them have been going on the same hunt for thirty-three years now. It has evolved into a tradition and these men have become more like family each time they go. Additionally, my brother got to attend for the first time three years ago and has been going ever since. They just got back last Friday and they had a great time as usual but they mentioned that they didn’t see as many birds as in past years. So I did some of my own research to find that the pheasant population has indeed fallen 64 percent statewide and has decreased even more in other areas, according to the Game, Fish, and Parks Department.
The town that they hunt in, Chamberlin, SD, showed that their annual brood count survey has declined 83 percent below the 10-year average. It has been said that the causes for the reduction in numbers is from a combination of weather and habitat loss. Furthermore, the Pheasants Forever Foundation has announced that the loss has been declining for years due to the habitat loss due to conversion of grasslands to row crops. They also indicated that reports have shown 1.52 pheasants per mile, down from 4.19 pheasants per mile just in the last year. Also, the drought in 2012 and a cold, wet spring in 2013 has contributed to the problem. Although the numbers are down, the South Dakota Conservation Department claim to still offer the best pheasant hunting experience in the country, providing more than 1.1 million acres of public land available for hunting.