Feral hogs in and around the Houston area have been exploding in numbers for years despite efforts to keep the population low, according to reports.
The war against these beasts has become a constant struggle for farmers in surrounding rural communities, despite best efforts to address the problem.
Of nearly 7 million feral hogs in the United States, Texas is home to about a third.
Buddy Earles, a Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) member and South Texas rancher, told the organization’s radio network that the feral hog population has gotten “extremely explosive.”
“A lot of people think that by hunting and trapping, we will be able to control the numbers, but we need to get around 75 to 80% killed just to keep the numbers where they’re at,” he said.
Texas Department of Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller estimated that the damage done by the feral hogs in Texas alone is upwards of $500 million in the last six to seven years.
Jamie Sugg, the Texas A&M Agrilife extension agent in Walker County told Houston Media last week: “It’s not a case of if you have a hog problem, but when. They are everywhere.”
In many instances, the feral hogs have even made their way into suburban areas.
“They’re going into graveyard cemeteries, turning over tombstones. They love golf courses, the soft wet grass. They root it up, tear it up,” Miller said. “It’s a real problem.”
Earles told Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network he raised the issue with State Rep. Ryan Guillen, District 31, last month during TFB’s Leadership Conference.
“He was extremely concerned [and] was trying to get more information on how to control them and then we were talking about the new warfarin that they’re talking about using that it should be one of our new tools that will help us bringing the numbers down, get a better control on the feral hog problem,” Earles said.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension is expected to field trial warfarin – a medication that hogs are extremely susceptible to – this summer to see how it can be used as a control method, TFB says.
Many of the 254 counties in Texas report having a feral hog problem.
At least two, Caldwell and Hays counties, offer bounties on them in an effort to control the exploding population.