A cursory glance at the schedule told me that the Fall Archery hunting season starts this week. 

And while the more "Traditional" hunting season with firearms doesn't start until October, there is probably something you should think about if you're planning on getting out there this year.

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You're probably looking for deer.  That's pretty dang popular, obviously.  I mean, it's not for me, but I'm a big baby that doesn't like to get up early and stand still for hours.  So naturally it's not my thing.  But if it's yours, you might want to keep something in mind this hunting season.

Whatever you do, don't shoot feral hogs. 

Even I've heard that feral hogs are a problem in Missouri, and I'm not an outdoorsy person.  So you may be thinking, "Well, these things are a problem, so what's the issue if I take one when I'm out hunting? We want to get rid of them, right?"  Well.  Yeah, you might take one feral hog, but... on the larger scale, you're not helping.  Here's what the DNR had to say about it (and they're the experts):

When hunters shoot feral hogs, it complicates efforts to remove these pests. Hogs are social animals that travel in groups called sounders. Shooting one or two hogs scatters the sounder and makes trapping efforts aimed at catching the entire group at once more difficult, because hogs become trap-shy and more wary of baited sites. With their high reproductive rate, removing one or two hogs does not help to reduce populations. Anyone who observes a feral hog or damage caused by feral hogs should report it to the Department of Conservation rather than shooting the animal so we can work together towards eradication.

You know pigs are smart.  You shoot one, it teaches the others to get out of the area and to avoid anything looking human, or anything that might smell a bit like a human (like the traps).  So if you shoot one, you're scattering the herd and they're just going to reproduce elsewhere.

So what do you do?  You report them.  And avoid them.  Feral pigs have been known to charge and attack if they feel threatened.  You don't want to deal with that.  It sounds like something Wiley Coyote would do.  Just do the right thing and report them, let the experts do their jobs. Report feral hog sightings and damage to 573-522-4115 ext. 3296 or at www.mdc.mo.gov/feralhog.

And have fun out there, if you're planning on hunting.  Just be responsible!

Reportingly yours,

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