Feral hog “explosion” worries residents of Alabama town

A feral pig runs across desert scrub on a ranch near Mertzon, Texas, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009. Under a bill filed by a Fort Worth lawmaker, recreational sportsmen would be allowed to join professional hunters like Lange to aerial-hunt feral hogs to help thin out their relentlessly multiplying and destructive ranks from the perch of a helicopter. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

MORRIS, Ala. (WIAT) — They are hard to hunt, they multiply like rabbits and chances are good they are closer to your house than you think.

They’re feral hogs, wild pigs, boars.

Whatever name you choose, Morris’s Slade Chappelle has had enough of them infesting his town.

“My concern is a hog explosion,” Chappelle said.

That explosion causes over $800 million in damages per year in the United States, according to wildlife experts. Central Alabamians have a growing concern because of the pesky animals’ quick reproduction cycles.

“There were at least 14 to 16 feral hogs down in the ravine, it looked like they were rooting up that creek,” Chappelle said. “We are less than one mile from the Morris city limits.”

The wild hogs have two litters a year, averaging between 4 and 14 hogs a litter. All those little piglets can mean big concerns for parents.

“My biggest thing would be concern for the kids,” said Jackie Goodwin. “There are a lot of kids running around in Morris, you know playing, and wild hogs can be pretty dangerous.”

Local law enforcement is warning citizens about the strength in numbers that the hogs are known to show.

“They move around a pretty good bit,” said Lt. Todd Draper, the assistant supervisor with the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. “They kind of move around in a big group most of the time, and where you see one they are probably way more than that.”

The hogs that people can’t see around the city are the ones that they worry about, so now the hunt is on to eradicate the problem.

“I’ve been hearing about them for years,” Goodwin said. “People say it’s been a epidemic of pigs up in there.”

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