What is in this article?:
- Debunking feral hog myths part of Texas education efforts
- So what are the facts?
- Damage is no myth
The population growth of feral hogs in Texas averages from 18 percent to 20 percent annually. Consequently, it would take almost five years for a population to double in size if left unchecked.
So what are the facts?
Ott says a 2011 consolidation of past studies developed by Lopez’s graduate student, Janell Mellish, shows the average litter size in Texas and the Southeast is 5.6 pigs.
“It is also known, that on average, a sow is about 13 months old when she has her first litter, and also on average, mature sows have 1.5 litters per year. This means a significant population growth rate, but a far cry from the doubling-yearly myth.”
Lopez and Mellish estimate that the population growth of feral hogs in Texas averages from 18 percent to 20 percent annually. Consequently, it would take almost five years for a population to double in size if left unchecked.
The Lopez and Mellish study used three methods to estimate feral pig population growth in Texas: the statewide number of aerial permits issued for shooting feral hogs; the number of pigs processed in commercial processing facilities; and feral hog control data made available from U.S. Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services.
Another common myth is that recreational hunting alone can control feral hog populations, according to Higginbotham.
“Of the dozen studies conducted across the nation, hunting removes from 8 percent to 50 percent of a population, with an average of 24 percent across all studies. In order to hold a population stable, with no growth, 60 percent to 70 percent of a feral hog population would have to be removed annually.
“Another myth is that it’s possible to identify the breed of a given feral hog by its color markings. Today’s feral hogs are descended from domestic breeds, Eurasian wild boars and, of course, hybrids of the two. But despite claims to the contrary, simply observing the color patterns, hair characteristics and size cannot definitively identify which of the three types an individual hog falls into.”