With as many as 2 million feral hogs causing millions of dollars in urban and rural property damage across the Lone Star State each year, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) has challenged all 254 Texas counties to step up efforts to curb the ongoing problem and decrease the state's feral hog population.

In Arlington, which has been seriously affected by feral hogs, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples read a proclamation declaring October "Hog Out Month - Get the Hog Outta Texas!" 

"Wild, feral hogs are causing tremendous damage across the landscape of Texas," Commissioner Staples said. "Texas landowners are encouraged to step up and do their part to reduce the number of feral hogs and protect our state from further damage.

Commissioner Staples kicked off a county challenge to reduce the number of hogs by legal means. The challenge, which has recruited nearly 60 counties so far, will run through Oct. 31. A grant will be given to the counties with the most hogs removed. More details about the county challenge for Hog Out Month—Get the Hog Outta Texas!—can be found at www.TexasAgriculture.gov under Most Popular Links.

 

Reducing population possible 

"Not only are feral hogs a costly nuisance to agricultural operations and wildlife habitats, but they are increasingly finding their way into urban areas and destroying residents' yards, public parks and golf courses," Staples said. "On my ranch in East Texas, I have eliminated a number of hogs and I am asking Texans around the state to step up and join the county challenge to learn about feral hogs and how best to legally hunt and trap them in their area. These hogs, which number in the millions and are capable of breeding twice a year, wreak havoc on property and also can pose a health threat to humans through disease and automobile accidents."

TDA works with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service to reduce the number of feral hogs in Texas, and in turn, save Texas landowners millions of dollars. Participants in educational programs on feral hog management reported a savings of $1.7 million in the past year. Additionally, feral hog management efforts in just five months in 2010 resulted in further savings of $1.58 million in damages averted, reflecting a conservative estimated return of $20 in savings for every $1 invested.

Billy Higginbotham, Texas AgriLife Extension Wildlife Specialist, says feral hog damage can be managed and significantly reduced. Through vigilance and by working together, both urban and rural landowners can initiate efforts at first signs of feral hog damage, thereby making a noticeable difference. 

The Texas AgriLife Extension Service provides landowners information on the best feral hog management practices available. Landowners are encouraged to call their local AgriLife Extension Agent for information on feral hog control measures.

For questions regarding your local county's participation in this the statewide county challenge, contact your county office.

 

Feral hog facts 

Texas Feral Hog Facts (source: Texas AgriLife Extension Service)

  • Feral hogs cause an estimated $400 million in damages annually.
  • There are an estimated 2 million feral hogs in Texas.
  • Feral hogs are predators of lambs, kid goats, baby calves, newborn fawns and ground-nesting birds, and compete for food and space with many native species of wildlife.
  • Feral hogs commonly destroy urban yards, parks and golf courses, as well as rangeland, pastures, crops, fencing, wildlife feeders and other property. Additionally, they contribute to E. Coli and other diseases in Texas streams, ponds and watersheds.
  • Vehicle collisions with feral hogs cause an estimated $1,200 in damage per collision, and create safety hazards for those involved.