WDFW is trying to nip a feral hog problem in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in the bud before it gets out of control.
After repeated reports of feral hog sightings in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to conduct some extensive hog removal operations.
For this reason, they're closing public access for approximately 1,300 acres of the Desert Unit of the area from July 29 through 31 August 2016.
Unlike many other states, Washington currently does not have a serious feral hog problem and the state wants to keep it that way.
According to Matt Monda, a WDFW wildlife manager:
We first started receiving public reports of wild pigs in the wildlife area last July. One of our officers shot a pregnant sow two months later, and we've occasionally picked them up on remote cameras over the past year. We don't want this to get out of hand.
During the month of August, a special USDA hog removal team will set up a series of baiting sites to help locate the hogs. Then, they'll come in with a helicopter and shoot as many as possible from the air. Officers will also retrieve hair samples from all the hog carcasses for DNA testing to see if they can figure out where these hogs came from.
Similar to the reason why Missouri banned hog hunting on public lands, WDFW is closing public access to the area for both public safety and in hopes that their aerial hog removal efforts will be easier with a concentrated and undisturbed hog population that is under minimal pressure from human interaction.
WDFW plans on reopening the area on September 1st, which is the first day of hunting season.
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