Feral Hog Problems in LBL Increasing, Caused Partly by Releases

Kentucky wildlife officials say the increasing problem with feral hogs in the famed Land Between the Lakes is due in part to illegal releases.

Feral Hog Problems in LBL Increasing, Caused Partly by Releases

Feral hogs are becoming more of a problem in Land Between the Lakes, with officials in Kentucky and Tennessee working with local counties to try to get a grip on things. 

Problems with feral hogs are increasing at one of the country's legendary hunting areas, Land Between the Lakes, with officials saying illegal releases are part of the issue.

LBL spokesman Chris Joyner told the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle that feral pigs were sighted about 10 years ago. The land is located in western Kentucky and northwest Tennessee between the massive Kentucky and Barkley lakes. The lakes are part of the impoundment systems of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers.

At first it was concerning, Joyner said, but now the number of hogs has become a serious problem.

"We are worried about the effects on other wildlife and habitats," said Joyner, who pointed out that the wild hogs eat local species like turkeys and their eggs, destroy habitats for other local wildlife, and even pose threats to the more than 270 graveyards in LBL.

The LBL is largely undeveloped and protected for public use as a 170,000-acre national recreation area. Hunting opportunities for deer, turkey, predators and small game are big attractions.

Joyner said officials are considering options for more widescale hog eradication including helicopter sniping and contracting with sharpshooters.

Hunting for feral hogs on the LBL is prohibited. Joyner said officials are exploring more widescale options to try to get a grip on the situation, including partially closing large areas for eradication efforts. Trapping currently is being used, with more than 70 trapped and killed so far.

"It's not getting the numbers needed to eradicate them completely," he told the newspaper.

Joyner also said officials "know somebody's released them" in the  LBL, which is illegal on state and federal levels.

"We don't know who yet," he said, "but we do have some leads that authorities with the U.S. Forest Service law enforcement are investigating."

Residents are concerned, too. Rod Murphy told WPSD Local 6 that damage from hogs will affect his family without something being done to end the problem.

“I’ve farmed my whole life," he said. "I’ve never filled out a job application. We actually own some land my great grandfather bought in 1900. This has been going on a long time.

“We have enough problems with the weather, the markets without having this problem with the hogs."

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