East Texas feral hog numbers skyrocketed in last decade

e feral hogs is when they start noticing damage, and that becomes more obvious as numbers increase," Higginbotham said.

Feral hogs damage and dirty ponds and streams by wallowing, rooting up roads, hay fields, undermining fences and stealing feed put out for livestock. Because they are aggressive and will eat some of the same foods, they will compete with wild-tailed deer and other wildlife species. When asked to evaluate the damage feral hogs have done since arriving, most of the landowners put the cost in the thousands of dollars. The average damage reported by all respondents $4,184. In light of these levels of damage, most had tried some means of reducing the numbers. More than 40 percent reported they relied on shooting; the second popular method was trapping at 37 percent; with using trailing dogs coming in a distant third at 10 percent. The average spent by the respondents trying to manage and control feral hogs was $1,036.

"Many landowners hate the thought of feral hogs on their properties because of crop and ranch facility damage, livestock depredation, disease transmission and competition for food with livestock and wildlife."

On the flip-side, however, many hunters see feral hogs as an extremely popular game species.

Another Extension survey done in 1993 reported hog hunters paid in a range of $25-$1000 for a hog hunt with the average price paid being $169.

"This represents a real opportunity for those landowners already locked in a battle to reduce hog populations," Higginbotham said.

Higginbotham also noted that because feral hogs are elusive, usually nocturnal and perfer dense cover, shooting rarely has much effect upon the population.

"The first recommendation is to use live-traps, and then bring in trailing and catch dogs. "We know that Texas has more feral hogs than any other state. With 1 million in the state, we will never eradicate them. The best we can hope for is to keep their number

Contact: Robert Burns
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications

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