NMSU to host feral hog symposium

By Audry Olmsted

Landowners struggle daily to keep their crops, animals and land free of pest damage that can harm their livelihood.

A newly encroaching pest – the feral hog – has made the eastern side of the state its home and New Mexico State University is offering a symposium for landowners to learn about the dangers of feral hogs and how to control and manage them.

The symposium will be held Dec. 9 at the Tucumcari Convention Center.

People interested in participating are asked to reserve a seat at the symposium by Dec. 6.

“Quay County is a real hot spot for feral hogs,” said Tom Dominguez, agricultural agent for the Quay County Cooperative Extension Service. “They are a real nuisance and destructive to rangeland and water lines. They also harbor diseases that are detrimental to wildlife.”

Dominguez said feral hogs were originally brought to the area for hunting purposes and that they also migrated to the area along the Canadian and Pecos rivers. The animals are prolific breeders, which has contributed to the problems for landowners.

Sam Smallidge, an NMSU Extension wildlife specialist, will talk with participants about the history of feral hogs. Manny Encinias, an NMSU Extension beef cattle specialist, will discuss domestic herds and wildlife interactions.

Justin Stevenson, a wildlife disease biologist with USDA Wildlife Services, will give information about diseases and dangers, and rules and regulations concerning feral hogs. Ron Jones, who is also with USDA Wildlife Services as a wildlife damage specialist, will discuss management and control of the animal.

Ken Cearley, a wildlife specialist with Texas AgriLife, will discuss Texas’ feral hog situation.

Three New Mexico Department of Agriculture continuing education units can be earned for attending the symposium. Supplementing the program, USDA Wildlife Services will offer private rodenticide applicators training and testing for anyone interested.

There will be time during the symposium for attendees to ask questions of the experts.

The Eastern New Mexico Feral Hog Symposium is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Tucumcari Convention Center. There will be a $10 charge at the door for lunch and for materials.

For more information or to reserve a seat at the symposium, call Dominguez at the Quay County Extension Office at 575-461-0562.