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Feral Hogs

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 figures......

big boarFeral 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 Texas 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.

piggies 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.

Gerber Knives - Fend For Yourself
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.
tree rubbingWhat 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 with 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.
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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 suppose.
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.

Photo Gallery

wow razorback stripe
coming out to eat herd action
big nasty down pig headed serious look

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