The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks took the first steps to legalize the trapping of feral hogs on some of its wildlife management areas when the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks approved the concept at its May meeting. 

Rules, regulations and other details still must be developed before the public will be allowed to start trapping hogs, but the agency indicated it will not be a blanket opportunity to trap on every WMA.

“It will allow hog trapping as needed by permit,” Russ Walsh, executive director of MDWFP’s wildlife bureau, told The Clarion-Ledger, adding that the Commission’s approval simply opens the door to create the additional opportunity as sought by the public. “I think there’s been some interest from the public in trapping wild hogs on WMAs, and trapping is efficacious in removing them. It would provide additional opportunity to use WMAs.

“We continually trap on WMAs and try to refine our methods. We are continually doing that to reduce populations, and certainly it will assist in reducing the population in addition to providing the public that opportunity.”

Walsh said the agency’s WMAs are certainly not immune to the spread of the hog population and the damage that comes with the nuisance animals.

“A good number of our WMAs have hogs; there are increasing populations on some WMAs,” he said. “Everybody is seeing an increase in wild hogs. It is not unique for us; that’s for sure. Each WMA will have specific regs. WMAs will not automatically be open for hog trapping. We will allow hog trapping based on need.”

Walsh said it was likely that the first WMAs to be open to trapping will be those that are entirely on state-owned lands, and it’s likely that trapping will only be allowed outside of deer and turkey seasons due to baiting issues. 

The first opportunity for a WMA wild hog season to be set will be at the monthly meeting of the Commission on Willdlife, Fisheries, and Parks on July 18.