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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers are to hear from wildlife and hunting experts Monday on possible programs to combat a growing wild hog population.

Mississippi wildlife officials say wild hogs are now in more than half the counties of the state, tearing up crops and destroying other kinds of vegetation.

They say hog populations are growing because of they reproduce often and can survive in virtually any habitat. The animals also lack any natural predators.

Sen. Giles Ward, a Republican from Louisville and chairman of the Senate wildlife committee, says many Mississippians are not aware of the serious nuisance and threat feral hogs present to the economy.

Members of the House and Senate wildlife committees will meet at the state Capitol in Jackson.

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