Feral Hogs

Hog damage

Feral hogs cause extensive damage to habitat

Feral Hogs are exotic and a nuisance species that compete with native wildlife for food as well as cause disturbance to native habitat. They can also serve as disease reservoirs and pose a threat to the health of both humans and other native wildlife. The first documented record of feral hogs 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 hogs. Their numbers 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 hogs remain a concern on the refuge. The detrimental effects of feral hogs are visible in every habitat type and pose a serious threat to native wildlife throughout the refuge. Refuge staff perpetually takes action to help control the population including trapping and shooting.

The refuge initiated another more effective method in 2015, aerial gunning. Aerial gunning 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.