Tens of thousands of wild hogs are wreaking havoc on farm land, causing significant damage to crops in Middle Tennessee.
The wild hogs, which run in packs, mostly at night, can easily top 400 pounds.
The animals are not only fast, aggressive and smart, but extremely destructive.
“The main problem with wild hogs is they will eat up everything,” said Daryl Ratajczak, chief of Wildlife and Forestry for the TWRA, “It literally looks like a roto-tiller has come through.”
Clint Borum, a habitat biologist with the TWRA said, “I have specifically worked with some farmers in Maury County that had a pretty bad hog problem. We were probably looking at a 30 to 40% crop loss on some of their fields.”
Ratajczak told Nashville's News 2 wild hogs used to mainly roam in east Tennessee, but now, they are all over the place.
“There were people trapping and releasing hogs into new areas, and that's really what was the main cause of the spread of hogs across Tennessee,” he explained.
That's why Ratajczak said the TWRA banned wild hog hunting season across the state.
However, farmers with hog problems on their land can apply for a permit to shoot and kill the animals if that's how they want to deal with the problem.
But Ratajczak added hunting these wild hogs is not the solution in getting rid of them.
Wild hogs begin reproducing at five to six months old and can have more than two litters a year, so around 15 to 20 offspring.
“It's incredible if you look at the biology of hogs how quickly they grow and especially how quickly they reproduce,” said Ratajczak,”To really slow down the population growth of hogs, you've got to take out upwards of 70 to 90 percent of the pigs. So if you have 20 pigs on your property, shooting one or two isn't going to do anything.”
Ratajczak said it's all about trapping large quantities of these pigs at once.
That's where Rod Pinkston and his company, “Jager Pro Control Systems” comes in.
Pinkston said their main mission is to trap and kill these wild hogs, with a big emphasis on the trapping part.
Their company helps farmers bait the hogs into special enclosures that are secure enough to withstand these animals' brute strength.
“A hog is just a 150 pound termite,” said Pinkston, “Hunters are not going to solve the problem. You can't hunt your way out of this situation. You've got to look at this from a control perspective.”
Ultimately, the TWRA said this is a problem everyone in the state should care about, regardless of whether or not you're a farmer.
Because when farmers' fields are destroyed by wild hogs, that means whatever they tried to plant didn't survive.
“You buy bread, you buy vegetables, you buy meat at the store,” explained Borum. “When farmers have problems producing these vegetables and these meats with wild hogs, with fertilizer prices and fuel prices going up, it's a direct relation to the customer at the store. It does hit them in the pocketbook.”
Dozens of U.S. states are dealing with the wild hog problem.
Nebraska and Kansas have also banned hog hunting for sport.
A University of Tennessee at Martin Ag Extension program is currently conducting a study on the economic impact of wild hogs in Tennessee.