OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MATT J. WHITWORTH
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
MAY 1, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LICKING MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO GUIDING ILLEGAL HUNTS
IN MARK TWAIN NATIONAL FOREST
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Licking, Mo., man has pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally guided hunts in the Mark Twain National Forest.
Charles Richard Wade, 66, of Licking, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England on Thursday, April 30, 2009, to the charge contained in a federal information that was filed against him on Feb. 19, 2009.
By pleading guilty, Wade admitted that he conducted a guided hunt for feral hogs in the Mark Twain National Forest in Texas County, Mo., on April 17, 2008, in violation of federal law and U.S. Forest Service regulations. Wade operates Rich’s Guide Service, which advertises guided hunts for feral hogs and other animals.
Under federal statutes, Wade is subject to a sentence of up to six months in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled at a later date.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service.
Feral hogs, also known as “wild hogs,” degrade wildlife habitat and private property, and can pose a threat to humans, pets and domestic livestock through the spread of disease. They forage heavily on acorns, competing with native species such as deer and turkeys for this important fall food. They commonly eat the eggs of ground nesting-birds and have been reported to kill and eat fawns.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, feral hogs started to become a serious problem for the state in the 1990s, when hog hunting for recreation gained popularity. Groups started raising and promoting European wild boar as a form of alternative agriculture and for hunting on licensed shooting areas. Soon, many of those hogs escaped or were intentionally released on public land. Because feral hogs are highly adaptable and prolific breeders, their numbers started growing at an alarming rate. Today feral hog populations are established in over 20 south Missouri counties, and sightings of feral hogs occur across the state. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s goal is to eradicate feral hogs, and feral hogs may be taken in any number throughout the year. During most of the year, no permit is required; however, special restrictions apply during the fall firearms deer and turkey hunting seasons.
It is U. S. Forest Service policy not to permit commercial hunting for feral hogs in the Mark Twain National Forest, because permitting that activity would provide the individuals conducting the hunts with an economic incentive to release feral hogs into the forest, contributing to the serious problems those animals cause to both public and private lands in the state of Missouri.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at