By Neil Melancon, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation
With just three meetings under its belt, the Feral Hog Task Force at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is rooting around for a solution to a growing problem.
One possible solution is Kaput, whose active ingredient, Warfarin, is proven to work on quadrupeds, such as hogs. Kaput also kills other animals, such as black bears, which the LDWAF has worked to de-list as an endangered species. The poison is delivered from traps mixed with feed that attracts bears and hogs alike.
“The black bears can easily get into the feeders meant for feral hogs,” said Jim LaCour, state wildlife veterinarian with LDWAF and a task force member. “We know that they will feed as long as they can, which could easily mean a fatal dose for bears.”
LaCour admitted it was an effective deterrent for the hogs, a continuing threat to property and lives.
“If they consume it for four or five days, it's highly toxic,” LaCour said. “It's nearly 100 percent lethal.”
Blake McCartney, a Red River parish farmer and task force member, said farmers are concerned about the crop damage they’re seeing year after year.
“Ag and Forestry has approved the use of it for the state, but you cannot buy it yet,” McCartney said. “It will be a restricted-use chemical, so you will have to have a restricted use card. There will be some training required for the use of it as well. Even when we get to that point, LDWAF has a lot of questions on the use of it, especially in areas that have the black bear and how it could affect the overall makeup of the wildlife in Louisiana.”
McCartney expects that point to be sometime this summer, although he does not know how widely it will be put into use. The poison isn’t the first attempt at controlling the feral hog population, which is estimated now at more than a half million across the state.
“There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the practical use of the poison, McCartney said. “The manufacturer of the poison is going to conduct the training of the dealers and the dealers will be able to conduct training through them and Ag and Forestry for the people who will purchase it and use it. So, the tentative dates that we would be able to use it are sometime in June or July.
“There has been some discussion on not putting it out in areas with black bear habitat,” he added. “My thoughts are they will do a pilot program in some areas until LDWAF can do more research on not only the poison, but even secondary contact with the bears.”
One issue with Kaput is that Warfarin is the same active ingredient as the blood thinner Coumadin and extra dosage from consuming meat from feral hogs who have eaten Kaput could be toxic to humans. The LSU AgCenter is currently researching how long Kaput stays in the system of feral hogs before entering the edible meat.
Also being researched is a herpes-like biological control that only affects hogs.