Do Pigs Have Wings?

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Published on: Nov. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 17, 2010

You may have heard the old saying, "When pigs fly!" It's a way of describing something that can never happen.

However, recent discoveries of feral hogs many miles north of Missouri's previously identified feral hog sites may make Missourians wonder whether pigs do indeed have wings. Or, perhaps, more to the point, whether pigs have wheels.

They have neither, of course. Wild, crossbred swine are appearing in places where they have not been before not by flying, driving or walking. The hogs aren't taking it upon themselves to move into the country-side. Instead, people are releasing hogs to the wild. Some are even importing hogs into Missouri and releasing them.

Why would anyone import and release feral swine given the damage those animals can do to Missouri's crops, economy, livestock industry, lawns and gardens, and natural resources? We hope the people doing this are unaware both of the consequences of their actions and that their activities are illegal. We also hope they'll stop it.

Against the Law

In 2002, the Missouri General Assembly updated Missouri's "stray hog" laws. These statutes define a feral hog as "any hog, including Russian and European wild boar, that is not conspicuously identified by ear tags or other forms of identification and is roaming freely on public or private land without the landowner's permission."

It is illegal to release hogs on public land, or anywhere else where they can roam freely. The statutes allow landowners to kill such hogs on their land and protect landowners from liability for doing so. They also allow any person to kill feral hogs on public and private land with the consent of the landowner, except as regulated by the Wildlife Code of Missouri during the firearms deer and turkey seasons, and holds them harmless from liability for doing so. The law also prohibits the take or kill of feral hogs with the use of an artificial light except by a landowner or their agents on their own property.

The Wildlife Code allows feral hogs to be taken in any number throughout the year. During most of the year, no permit is required and any method is allowed. However, permits are required and special regulations apply during the firearms deer and turkey hunting seasons. People pursuing feral hogs during these seasons should study the regulations closely.

Resident landowners and lessees, as defined by the Wildlife Code, are not required to have

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