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Extension workshop in Capitan to highlight methods to control, eradicate feral hogs

CAPITAN, N.M. - Whether they originated as domesticated animals that turned wild over time or were brought into New Mexico as sport for hunters, feral pigs have grown to be a major problem for farmers and ranchers, destroying rangeland and attacking small livestock.

The Southern New Mexico Feral Hog Symposium is Feb. 18 at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds in Capitan. (Submitted photo)

New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service in Lincoln County is offering the Southern New Mexico Feral Hog Symposium Feb. 18 in Capitan to help educate the public about the dangers feral hogs pose, and how to defend against the animals and their destructive ways.

The symposium is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be held at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.

"Feral hogs are a major issue all over New Mexico and in Lincoln County," said Pete Gnatkowski, an Extension agricultural agent. "We are hoping that through this program, participants will become aware of the issues surrounding feral hogs, where they are, and what ways they might be able to exercise some kind of control. This will be a very interesting program."

Gnatkowski said feral hogs not only destroy rangeland and agricultural fields, but also tear up fences and roads. They are also known predators of small livestock and other animals, such as fawns and quail, and they carry many diseases of concern to livestock producers. The hogs tend to be more concentrated in areas near water, such as the Capitan Mountains.

During the workshop, Sam Smallidge, NMSU Extension wildlife specialist, will discuss the biology and history of wild pigs. Justin Stevenson, a U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services biologist and feral hog coordinator, will talk about the impact of feral hogs, the diseases they carry, regulations and how to control the animals. Ron Jones, a USDA wildlife specialist, will offer participants eradication and control techniques.

In addition to these speakers, representatives from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, U.S. Forest Service and the New Mexico Livestock Board will be on hand to offer their views on feral hogs and answer any questions.

There will be time during the symposium for participants to visit with and ask questions of all the speakers.

There is no fee to attend the symposium. Snacks will be provided during the event, courtesy of the Upper Hondo Soil and Water Conservation District.

For more information about the feral hog workshop, call the Lincoln County Extension Office at 575-648-2311.