With harvests by hunters not putting a dent in the wild hog population on state wildlife management areas, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is using helicopters this week to hunt down feral hogs on Pearl River and Sherburne WMAs.
According to a press release, the goal of the project is to reduce the hog numbers on both WMAs and hopefully reduce the habitat destruction as well.
Fishermen, nutria hunters, birdwatchers and hikers should be alert for helicopter flyovers and possible gunfire, the release states.
March was chosen because the hogs will be easier to spot with little spring foliage, and also because turkey seasons have not begun yet on the WMAs.
Spokesman Bo Boehringer said the hogs will be left where they are shot for natural predators like gators, coyotes and bobcats to clean up because of liability issues for the department.
"When we don't know where that meat is going to end up and how it will be prepared, we could not deliver it to a third party," Boehringer said. "There's just no way to certify the quality of that meat."
Flyovers will be concentrated on Pearl River WMA in the marsh south of Hwy. 90 in St. Tammany Parish, and on Sherburne WMA’s main body, as well as the North and South Farms in Iberville and Pointe Coupee Parishes, the release states.
Additionally, LDWF personnel will be stationed at select parking lots during the helicopter flyovers to alert the public of the ongoing hog control activities.