Commissioners seek advice on hog hunting

There has been so much discussion about hogs by the Grady County Commission during the last two commission meetings, a casual observer may have thought it was the meeting of a board managing a stockyard.
The issue of wild hogs on the Tired Creek Lake property was first raised at the Feb. 19 meeting of the county commission.
Following reports of the meeting published by The Cairo Messenger, District 4 Commissioner Lafaye Copeland said this week constituents had contacted her about the possibility of the county hosting a hog hunting day at the lake property, which covers approximately 2,800 acres.
District 1 Commissioner Elwyn Childs first suggested the hog hunting day last month as a possible way to reduce the nuisance caused by the apparently large population of wild hogs on the county’s property.
“I’ve had several constituents contact me about the hog situation, and they have asked if the county would consider having a hog killing day,” Commissioner Copeland said.
The newly elected commissioner said one citizen had shared a photo of a wild hog that had been killed and she noted “that thing was huge. My constituents want us to do something and that’s why I am bringing it back up,” she said.
District 3 Commissioner Charles Norton, a former wild hog hunter himself, expressed reservations about turning loose multiple hog hunters on the property with tracking dogs.
“Dogs can’t read,” Norton said, and noted the dogs would chase hogs off county property and onto private property which would create other issues.
“If we could contain the hunting to the 2,800 acres owned by the county, I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Norton said.
Norton said he was not opposed to the proposal, but he was not sure how to police such a hunting activity. “Everybody would like to go out there and get them a free hog. That’s groceries on the table,” the District 3 Commissioner said.
Vice Chairman T.D. David asked why law enforcement could not enforce applicable laws for hunting that crossed off of public land onto private land. “Why would we be liable for anything but what happens on county property?” he asked.
Grady County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley said the window for hosting such a hunt would be short as work ramps up on dam construction and other related activities at the lake site.
“You don’t have the luxury of opening it for a long period of time. If you can find a way to safely police it and find a day or two in the next month or so, you could issue a limited number of permits to hog hunters,” Cauley said.
Chairman Billy Poitevint suggested permitting hunting without dogs, and Commissioner Norton said trapping of hogs might be a possibility.
Cauley noted the board could hire a trapper to represent the county to eliminate the wild hog population on the 2,800 acre tract.
“I’m just not sure I would have the time and could coordinate a hog hunting day in the next month or so,” Cauley said.
Vice Chairman David asked if the state game warden could be contacted to make a recommendation to the board.
The board, after further discussion, instructed County Clerk Carrie Kines to contact Department of Natural Resources officials to attend the next commission meeting and make a recommendation to the board concerning hog hunting on the Tired Creek lake property.
“We need to get someone besides us to give us an official opinion,” Vice Chairman David said.
Neighboring property owners have complained about wild hogs damaging crops and landscapes. County officials fear the lake property has become a refuge for wild hogs.

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