Texas Wild Hog Population Continues to Grow
The feral hog problem in Texas has gotten worse even while I’m writing this article. Spanish explorers brought hogs to Texas over 300 years ago. Over the years, many became feral. Years later, mainly during the 1930’s, the European or ‘Russian boar’ was introduced to Texas for sport hunting. And, as you’ve already guessed, those hogs also eventually escaped into the wild. Over the decades, they’ve bred with the feral hogs. So today, we have a serious nuisance animal on the loose across the state.
Texas Parks and Wildlife estimates there are at least 1.5 million of these demons on the loose in Texas right now. And that number grows by hundreds every week, as they breed proficiently and are tough as nails. They are considered a non-game, unprotected species in Texas. You can hunt them by any means, anytime of the year. You still need a hunting license and, of course, you don’t want to hunt on anyone’s private property without permission.
In 2017, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller was pushing an outrageous plan to poison the hog population. But groups like the Texas Hog Hunters Association got busy putting the brakes on that insane idea. Poisoning the hogs would require a tremendous amount of poison and could put other animals, including livestock, at risk for cross contamination from the poison itself. The short answer to the hog problem is a coordinated effort to hunt down and kill as many of these animals as possible. There’s no re-homing or re-locating them; they are an incredible nuisance that cause some $1.5 billion dollars in damage to livestock and crops across the state every year.
Texas A&M Natural Resource Institute has set up a reporting system, whereby you can report hog sightings and damage to the state for tracking purposes. With the hogs sighted in over 80 percent of Texas, it’s important to keep better track of their movements, better evaluate the damages caused and work to formulate plans to manage the population better. It’s unlikely to see them wiped out in our lifetime, but we certainly have to keep trying.