RINCON — It's not uncommon for state legislators to talk about pork. Usually, however, that kind of dialogue pertains to costly projects that have questionable benefits for taxpayers.
During Legislative Eggs and Issues 2018 at Effingham College & Career Academy on Dec. 5, real pork in the form of feral hogs was on the discussion table.
State Sen. Jack Hill, Rep. Jon Burns and Rep. Bill Hitchens were asked if the General Assembly will increase funding to battle the proliferation of the highly destructive creatures during the 2019 session.
"Wild hogs completely devastate people's back yards — not just row crops, not just crops, not just pine trees that are planted, not just golf courses," Burns said. "It's people's back yards, and they are a danger to your pets and everything else. Their numbers are exploding and they are coming into our neighborhood.
"It's something we need to address."
The General Assembly has made it illegal to transfer feral hogs from one tract to another.
"That's primarily how they've spread all across the countryside," Burns said. "They've been very proactive at creating new little feral hogs."
Federal wildlife officials estimate that feral hogs cause up to $2.5 billion in damage annually. There are more than 5 million of them spread across at least 39 states.
Burns credited Congressmen Rick Allen and Buddy Carter for aiding in the fight against feral hogs. The federal government spends about $30.5 million a year to combat them.
"We also allow all sorts of hunting," Burns said. "If you like to kill feral hogs, you can do it with silencers, you can do it with night scopes. We've expanded that ability because they are a true, true nuisance.
"They are an economic powerhouse as far as a negative standpoint goes. It is something we are trying to get our arms around."
"We will continue to give (the Department of Natural Resources) the funding they ask for," Hill said.
Hill said DNR has is very effective and efficient with its use of financial resources.
They are an economic powerhouse as far as a negative standpoint goes. It is something we are trying to get our arms around.Rep. Jon Burns