Niagara Gazette

Bob Confer

November 18, 2013

CONFER: Feral hogs should be fair game for farmers, hunters

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — That may soon come to an end.

It was reported in New York Outdoor News last week that the D.E.C. was given power to regulate all things feral hog and officials are now weighing a ban on the hunting of the animals. They say that targeting and killing the pigs does not help the D.E.C. or U.S.D.A. in their eradication efforts because it is believed the hunters will scatter the animals, breaking up their passels and making collection by government agents almost impossible.

Outright prohibition of hog harvesting would be one of the worst things that the D.E.C. could do for farming and the very environment it is charged to protect.

Imagine a farmer who sees wild pigs decimating his corn. Under a ban, he could do nothing to stop them. He would have to put in a call to game officers who, already understaffed and underfunded, would have to coordinate the personnel and resources for a roundup. That could take days, maybe weeks. By then, a farm could incur thousands of dollars in losses.

Or, think of the tens of thousands of deer hunters in the woods every fall. That army is the very best option New Yorkers have for eliminating feral hogs. They are stealthily venturing into areas that typically see little human presence the rest of the year, so they have a good chance of encountering the secretive hogs and, with gun in hand, wiping them out. Were the ban a reality, they would be unable to take aim and would have to report their sightings to the D.E.C. When would the state get to it? Certainly not in the fall, when their attention is on the deer harvest and gleaning revenues from sportsmen.

If you are a farmer who cares about the security of your land or a nature lover who cares about the state of our forests, take the time to write the D.E.C. and let them know that banning public extermination of feral hogs will lead to a population explosion and, ultimately, the destruction of our fields and woodlands.

Bob Confer is a Gasport resident and vice president of Confer Plastics Inc. in North Tonawanda. Email him at bobconfer@juno.com.

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