|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - February 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Farm Bureau, extension service offer help to combat feral hog epidemic
Polk County Enterprise - February 2009
LIVINGSTON — With more than 2 million feral hogs now roaming Texas and cost of damage control near $52 million per year, many Texas landowners may be wondering what they can do to stymie what has become a statewide epidemic. “Luckily, resources are available for landowners,” said Polk County Farm Bureau President Bill Bergman. Feral hogs are domestic hogs that have gone wild. One female hog has the potential of producing as many as 26 young per year. At that rate it doesn’t take long for them to overrun an area. Many landowners have reported entire fields destroyed by the voracious beast in as little as a night’s time, making pastures and hay meadows look as though they have been aimlessly plowed. “The feral hog situation is a potentially dangerous and costly problem and we need to take every precaution in managing the growing population,” Bergman said. “But answers can be found with just a few clicks of your computer mouse,” he added. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has compiled several tips and control measures for landowners dealing with feral hogs. For more information, visit http://feralhogs.tamu.edu or http:// wildlife.tamu.edu In general, control methods include snaring, live trapping, and hunting and shooting them with dogs. There are currently no toxicants or repellents for the control of feral hogs. Snares are used in traveled areas under fences. An extension cable should be tied from the snare to a log drag or fence post to restrain the animal. Live traps are effective for capturing feral hogs. There are many different designs from single catch traps to multi catch traps. Grain or livestock carcasses are the preferred trap baits although live decoy animals are also used. Traps should be secured to the ground as well as trees if possible to prevent the hog from rooting under the cage or otherwise escaping. Night shooting is also an effective control method. A spotlight with a red filter is often used and preferred by hunters. Before using a spotlight, notify officials of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Trained dogs may be used to hunt individual feral hogs or small groups of hogs. Dogs used for hunting should be properly trained for hog control. After the use of dogs, hogs will become wary and other control methods may be necessary. Feral hogs are considered freeranging, exotic animals and may be taken at any time of the year by legal means. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department can provide answers and assistance regarding legalities of feral hogs and hunting wild hogs. “The feral hog situation is a potentially dangerous and costly problem and we need to take every precaution in managing the growing population,” Bergman said. “But answers can be found with just a few clicks of your computer mouse,” he added. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has compiled several tips and control measures for landowners dealing with feral hogs. For more information, visit http:// feralhogs.tamu.edu or http://wildfire. tamu.edu.