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We support the Missouri Department of Conservation's proposed rule change that would make it easier for people to deal with nuisance wildlife on their property.

Specifically, the change would allow hunting on others' property, with their permission, using night-vision equipment to kill animals such as feral hogs. A conservation agent would first have to give approval for the hunt.

Landowners can already use thermal imaging and night vision scopes on their own property as an aid to hunting nuisance animals. "Landowner representatives," however, currently can not hunt using such tools.

As we reported last week, the Missouri Department of Conservation proposed the regulation change in response to citizen requests to its Regulations Committee.

MDC says feral hogs are an invasive species that cause millions of dollars in agricultural, environmental and property damage, as well as harm native wildlife. The agency has banned hunting of feral hogs on all lands owned, managed or leased by the department and instead encourages people to report hog sightings to the agency. It discourages hog hunting on private lands, but allows it.

The Missouri Conservation Commission gave initial approval on the proposed regulation changes during its Aug. 23 meeting.

We believe the proposed rule is common sense. As property owners, part of us believes if you want your friend to use his rocket launcher to dispatch feral hogs as a way to protect your crops or family, so be it. But we also understand MDC's mission, which includes protecting and managing wildlife.

Whether you agree or disagree with the rule change, now is your chance to weigh in on the issue. MDC is seeking public comment on the proposed rule change through Oct. 31. To comment, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/Z49. The commission will make a final decision during its Dec. 13 meeting. If approved, the anticipated effective date of the changes would be Feb. 29, 2020.

News Tribune

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