Feral Hog control

Pig destruction

Feral hogs cause extensive damage to habitat

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (Indiahoma, Oklahoma) will conduct aerial feral swine control on refuge lands February 13-16, 2018. In order to assure public safety, portions of the refuge public use areas will be temporarily closed during this time while control activities are underway. 

  • February 13, the closed areas will include Burma Road, Boulder Trail and Picnic Area, Lost Lake, Quanah Parker Lake, French Lake, Osage Lake and Dog Run Hollow. 
  • February 14, the closed areas will include Elk Mountain, Charons Gardens, Sunset, and Post Oak and Treasure Lakes. 
Refuge staff intends to have these areas re-opened to the public by 12:00 pm each day, after control operations have ceased. February 15-16, control activities will continue in other areas of the refuge, which will not require any public use closures. 

Feral swine are exotic and a nuisance species that compete with Oklahoma’s native wildlife for food as well as cause significant disturbance to native habitat. They also serve as disease reservoirs and pose a threat to the health of humans, pets, agricultural lands, and native wildlife. The first documented record of feral swine in the United States was in Florida in 1593. Introductions followed in several other southeastern states, which led to established free-ranging populations throughout the region. Populations then spread throughout the southeast and mid-south states. Today, Oklahoma is home to an estimated 600,000 to 1.5 million feral swine. Their numbers and range continue to increase because of their high reproductive potential and the lack of natural predators.

Based on sightings, habitat disturbance, and current control efforts, feral swine remain a substantial concern on Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The detrimental effects are visible in every habitat type and pose a serious threat to native wildlife throughout the refuge. Refuge staff routinely takes action to help control the hog population through removal of individual animals. In 2015, the refuge initiated another more effective method by adding aerial control. This provides very effective control across the entire refuge with much less time and effort. It also allows for control operations in less accessible areas of the refuge. Aerial shooting operations are conducted by one helicopter using specially trained U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel, following policy and procedures established to ensure safe, humane, and environmentally sound practices. 

Although the refuge does not anticipate any changes to the above mentioned closures, the public is reminded to follow all area restrictions and closure signage. The refuge will post specific closure information at the Visitor Center.