Bill authorizes slaying wild hogs ‘by any means necessary’

Wild hogs cause about $1.5 billion in agricultural damage a year in Tennessee, and lawmakers in three counties want to allow landowners to control them with “any means necessary,” according to the Times-Free Press.

First cousins Riley Frady and Wendell Oakes, two lifelong residents and landowners in northwest Bledsoe County, say the bill being considered in the Tennessee Legislature would help hunters better control the feral pigs that can root up acres of farmland in a night.

“They’re after your seeds and bugs and roots and stuff. They get their food out of the ground,” said Oakes, standing at the sawmill on the family farm on state Highway 30 near Fall Creek Falls State Park.

For many area landowners, Frady is the man to call when wild hogs become a problem. He helped get the measure passed by the Bledsoe County Commission en route to the bill under consideration in Nashville.

If the bill introduced by Rep. Ron Travis, R-Dayton, and co-sponsored by Sens. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, and Mike Bell, R-Riceville, becomes law, hunters will be able hunt hogs with dogs Bledsoe, Polk and White counties all year around except during deer season. (Note: It’s SB702 and has already cleared committee in the Senate.)

However, the Wild Hog Eradication Action Team, a 24-organization partnership of state agencies and other groups, wants to get rid of the destructive animals but advocates trapping rather than dogs.