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Vacant business park invaded by wild hogs
LCDA mulls idea of inviting in hunters
0128 wild hog1
Wild pigs, such as this one, can cause a variety of damage. The most common complaint is rooting, resulting in the destruction of crops, pastures and landscaping. Damage to farm ponds and watering holes for livestock is another common problem. - photo by Photo courtesy of
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Roaming hogs may be good game for hunters, but the Liberty County Development Authority isn’t playing with the disastrous effects.  
“They can make a field look like it’s been plowed by a tractor,” said David Mixon, regional supervisor for game management for the Department of Natural Resources office in Brunswick. “They’ll root the entire thing up.”
With 3,590 acres at stake in Tradeport West, authority members discussed opening the vacant business center up to hog hunting.
And Tradeport’s road system could make for a hog heyday.
“They’ll make roads to where you can’t drive down them,” Mixon said. “When they create those holes … you’re looking at a hole that may be five or six feet long and two feet deep.”
Hog populations can vary based on location, depending on pressure from hunters. But Mixon only foresees an increase.
“They’re very prolific,” Mixon said. “One sow [female hog] can breed up to three times a year and have up to 14 piglets each time.”
And with their high-protein diet, hogs can top 600 pounds.
Don McGowan, the DNR's senior wildlife biologist in Atlanta, said hogs destroy a lot of native wildlife habitat. 
“They’re very destructive habitat-wise,” McGowan said of hogs, which eat both plants and meat. “From the agriculture side point, they can carry some diseases that can infect domestic pigs.”
LCDA member Brian Smith, who said he was “born and raised on hunting,” advised at Monday's authority meeting a combination of hunting and trapping to control the population and “systematically eliminate” the hogs.
Mixon agreed.
“Removing individuals from the local area and putting pressure is about the only way to control the problem,” he said. 
“My heartburn with this whole thing is once we open sites for hunting, how do we police it?” Smith asked.
There is no closed season for hog-hunting on private land, and the only hunting restrictions for hogs prohibit hunters from using bait and a certain amount of light at night.
“They’re pretty smart animals and they’re very sensitive to hunting pressure,” McGowan said.
Smith thought it was a good idea to open the area to hog-hunting, giving avid hunters something to do between deer and turkey seasons.

Wastewater plant

Plans for yesterday’s public hearing to discuss permitting a sewage treatment plant in the Tradeport East Business Park were developed during Monday’s meeting, with members expecting a lot of comments.
State Rep. Al Williams said the authority’s objective should be to answer the public’s specific questions, not just going through the procedures for getting a permit.
“If that’s the only thing we need to do, we’ve missed the boat,” Williams said. “Public outcry has created this public hearing.”
“We have answers to any of their questions,” LCDA Executive Director Ron Tolley said. “[But] The information we received was this is not what EPD is there for.”
Environmental Protection Department engineer Scott Southwick said public comments would stay focused on environment.
“It’s not a hearing on whether or not the citizens of Liberty County think it’s appropriate for their government to fund a specific project,” Southwick said.
“Once EPD is finished and gone, we can stand there and answer questions all night,” Smith said.
With public presentations mostly from CH2MHill representatives, concerned citizens had the opportunity to hear explanations from state scientists and engineers from EPD about the expandable to three-million-gallons-per day sewage plant to discharge in the Laurel View River.
The next authority meeting is scheduled for March 2.

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