Of the estimated 4 to 5 million feral hogs in the United States, approximately 2 million call Texas home. Feral hogs can be found in approximately 230 of our 254 counties and cause an estimated $52 million of damage to Texas agricultural enterprises each year. However, feral hogs are causing an increasing amount of damage in suburban/urban areas because of vehicle collisions and landscape damage.
Control techniques include shooting, trapping, snaring and the use of specially trained dogs. There are no registered toxicants or other products that can be used as toxicants to control feral hogs in the United States. For landowners, trapping efficiently is one of the best means for controlling feral hogs. The use of larger traps placed in areas adjacent to and upwind of where hogs spend their daytime hours improves catch rates. Pre-baiting is essential meaning traps should not be set to capture hogs until the hogs are regularly responding to bait and entering a trap.
Landowners may wish to recoup some of the damage losses or hog control costs by either leasing hunting rights or selling live hogs to processors who pay for hogs on a per pound basis. The Texas Animal Health Commission maintains a list of buying stations located across the state that can purchase hogs from landowners. TAHC also has several new regulations concerning holding and transporting feral hogs that should be reviewed by those interested in selling feral swine.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is currently conducting a number of feral hog abatement projects via a two year grant provided by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The project is mainly designed to enhance and facilitate direct control measures by Wildlife services personnel to remove hogs that potentially could cause disease transmission to domestic swine herds or otherwise damage agricultural; enterprises and urban landscapes. An additional component of this project is indirect control via education. The abatement project will run through mid-2010. During and after this special project, landowners can contact their county Extension agents or attend various feral hogs programs conducted across the state to learn more about feral hogs and their control. Management information is also available at the AgriLife Bookstore.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Where did Feral Hogs come from?
A:When settlers first came to parts of the frontier they brought hogs with them as livestock. Free ranging hogs escaped captivity and established breeding populations.
Q: What is the difference between a feral hog and a Javelina?
A: While feral hogs are an invasive, exotic pig species, Javelina are a native, peccary species. Javelina, or Collared Peccaries, do not root like pigs do and are significantly less destructive.
Q: Why do Feral Hogs wallow in the mud?
A: Feral hogs wallow for several reasons. Primarily wallowing occurs because Feral Hogs lack sweat glands and therefore cannot cool themselves as well as most other mammals. Secondly the mud that sticks to them protects their skin from sun and insects.
Q: What are the legal means to control Feral Hogs?
A: Legal methods for Feral Hog control include Snaring, Trapping, Shooting, and Hunting with trained dogs. These methods are helpful in reducing hog depredation but generally do not lead to eradication.