Sooooooeeeeeeee! Here pig, pig, pig. The high-pitched call rings through the pines as it did in the early 1930s when Lennis Broadfoot walked these rugged hills conducting his character studies of everyday folks. Mary Box, the hog caller, was just one of many Broadfoot immortalized in his book, “Pioneers of the Ozarks.” Recently, however, this character study has been brought to life to call attention to the feral hog and the potential problems they pose to Missouri wildlife.
Learning to call in the hogs is just a small part of the program. Visitors learn how Mary’s hogs destroy habitat, “hog” all the food from native wildlife and even prey on young of deer and turkey. As Mary puts it, “feral hogs is bad for Missouri.” Mary tells the story of how turkey and deer in her day were scarce--sightings would make the weekly papers. Conservation efforts including fencing out the hogs at Peck Ranch helped restore Missouri’s deer and turkey to the healthy populations we enjoy today.
Like Missourians today, Mary cares about our forest, fish and wildlife resources. Feral hogs have once again become a problem in parts of Missouri and, left unchecked, will cause millions of dollars in agricultural, environmental and property damage. A feral hog is any hog without an ear tag or other identification that roams on public or private land without permission. Releasing hogs for sport hunting is illegal. To report a sighting call 573-522-4115 ext. 3147 or 573-226-3616. To schedule “Mary Box” to speak at your organization or school in Shannon, Ripley, Carter or Howell counties call 573-325-1381.