Feral hogs are huge problem in Texas. Every year
thousands of acres of crop and millions of dollars in revenue are lost to the
ever increasing population of wild pigs. On my own deer lease we have a huge
problem with hogs. We have caught a few in traps here and there but we still
have some serious work to be done. It would be near impossible to get rid of
every pig but I think there is a way to convince them to move to new, less
"hostile" ground. First though, let's cover the facts and
Feral hogs multiply...... QUICKLY! Though they don't
always do it, they are capable of breeding at six months old. Litter sizes will
average 4-6 but ideal conditions, such as plentiful nutrition, can raise that
number. Some disagree with larger litter claims, claiming that one sow may
nurse other sow's babies as they go feed, thus giving an appearance of larger
litters. However, I will reference much of my information from
Parks and Wildlife's page on feral hogs as well as workshops I have
attended and different articles. They all say about the same thing so you will
find this information in many places.
Are pigs smart? It's not just
my opinion but yes, they are very smart. They learn what traps are and after a
few encounters with them, they will stay away. I have also heard if you shoot
one in a trap you will never catch another in that trap (never experienced this
personally). Simply baiting a trap and hoping is not the best answer. As you
can tell from my game camera pictures, they do come out in the day as well as
at night. I have found evening and night time best to encounter them. But they
are always set in where and when they will show especially if they have
multiple food sources.
| An entire industry has been born in regard to wild hogs.
Whereas there used to be a singular focus on deer hunting, now hogs are getting
a lot of attention. So called "reality" tv shows with hired trappers
were at a peak recently with no less than 4 shows on almost as many channels.
Everyone had to have their own show. A few of these bordered on ridiculous in
regard to hog hunting in my own opinion. And there is even a hunting show
directed at pig hunting. I like the fact that it makes no apologies for hunting
and killing wild hogs.
damage do feral hogs do? Well, entire crops can be destroyed in a single night.
As stated above, the feral hog population in Texas is well over 2 million! From
what I have read, that is almost half of the population of wild pigs in the
United States. And they like to eat. But it's not just crops. They are omnivors
meaning plant and animal alike are part of their diet. They can decimate land
in general. One day a field or yard will look perfectly fine and the next it
will look like a plow possessed came through. They also compete directly with
livestock for food. The damage to land in dollar value is in the millions. So
as you can see, these are not sweet little pot bellied pets.
|Wild hogs also carry various
diseases. Though they are many, the two I continually hear about are
pseudorabies and swine brucellosis. Pseudorabies is not really rabies but
shares some of the symptoms of a rabid animal. This disease causes no threat to
humans but is a danger to livestock and pets. Swine brucellosis is dangerous to
humans however. It will cause flu-like symptoms but it is treatable. Care
should always be taken when dealing with feral hogs. Cleaning them should be
done with gloves and washing up yourself and your skinning equipment once done.
It may be wise to check with the processor you plan to use if you are not
handling the job yourself. Processors also have a set of rules to follow. Some
processors won't handle wild hogs because of the detail involved.
Also, the rules governing the transportation of live wild hogs was changed
in 2008. Where as TP&W used to oversee it, now the Texas Animal Health
Commission does. If you are going to trap them to move to another area, check
TAHC first on the rules. It definitely isn't as simple as
it used to be.
Hunting wild hogs is a little more lenient. And the methods are varied. I
have feeders on my lease so we can basically play the sit and wait game. I have
friends who run dogs and are very successful with that. There are people you
can hire to come out and trap/kill hogs on yor property. And the list goes on.
To the best of my knowledge, you still need a hunting license to hunt hogs on
public land. Hogs are not a game animal and there is no season on them. There
is also a new way in Texs to hunt wild hogs. Use of a helicopter for wild hog
control was approved by TP&W and is now a growing industry. It's a bit
pricey for my taste but it certainly looks fun.
|I would like to also mention one of the problems
I see with feral hogs. Man. As the human population grows encroachment in the
wild becomes more widespread. I hate that hunters get a bad rap for what they
do but no one ever complains about those that destroy habitat on a daily basis
all in the name of progress. I won't jump to far into this as there might not
be enough bandwidth to hold all my comments. But I do feel more and more people
will be experiencing problems with wild hogs simply because they are having
less and less land to hide. News outlets around Houston have had numerous
stories reguarding feral hogs over the past few years. One centered on a nice
suburban community were hogs were devastaing new yards. The reporter was
informed enough to make note that building more and more out into the country
would lend to the problem. Another news outlet did a story but only after the
hogs made a mess of a golf range. Seems some are oblivious to the problem until
it effects their way of live. Of course that is the case with many things I
Having no shortage of hogs on my lease will allow me to be adding many
pictures below soon. I just wanted to share this with you and hope that if you
didn't realize how big the problem was, perhaps now you do.
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