REYNOLDS COUNTY, Mo. -- According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, 30 counties across the state are dealing with a feral hog problem. One Reynolds County farmer says hogs are damaging his fields, costing him thousands of dollars. WARNING - some images in this story may be disturbing to some viewers.
"I'm fed up and don't know what to do. I am absolutely fighting a losing battle," George McNail told KY3.
George McNail has been dealing with feral hogs, everyday, for the past three years.
"Hogs come in and overnight, they do more damage then I can fix back the next day with a good-sized tractor and equipment," McNail exlained.
He says hundreds of hogs have torn up most of his 220 acres.
"Around my farm here, if the count was known, it would be up 1,000 or more. I guarantee you that," he exclaimed.
He has worked with the Missouri Department of Conservation to catch them in traps.
He's had more success with his own traps.
"We've caught numerous amounts of hogs out of these traps. The last one was two nights ago," he said.
The hogs aren't just a nuisance - by rutting up fields, they are costing McNail thousands of dollars.
"It cost me $14,000 last year for hay that I had to buy."
McNail shoots and kills hogs any chance he can, which is legal as long as it's not on public land.
The state says it’s working to control the hog problem.
"We want them gone," Francis Skalicky with the Missouri Department of Conservation said.
"Trapping is proven to be a very effective way to eliminate hogs. When you're shooting them, you shoot a few, you scatter the rest and it actually makes a problem worse," Skalicky added.
Skalicky says the feral hog problem is getting worse.
"Hogs that are on the landscape today are being brought in illegally into the state. Some people have the misguided notion that hunting hogs is a unique hunting opportunity so they bring in hogs into the state. All they're doing is making a bad problem worse," Skalicky told KY3.
Over the weekend, 124 hogs were killed in Reynolds County in a private hunt, on private land
"After you see my ground tore up the way it is, I can't resist shooting at those darn hogs if I see them out there. No way," McNail explained.
According to the Department of Conservation, more than 35,000 feral hogs have been eliminated across the state since 2015.