Feral Hog Population Continues to Grow and Cause Damage

Feral Hog Population Continues to Grow and Cause Damage

WICHITA COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) -The feral hog population continues to grow. Wildlife experts estimate there are two and a half million feral hogs in Texas. A female hog on average produces one to two liters per year with 3-8 piglets. At this rate the population could become as high as eight million.

Driving along Texoma roads, you may come across feral hogs.

"Running over or hitting a wild hog they say is one of the worst. It's even worse than hitting cattle from the stand point typically it goes underneath the vehicle and just tears everything up underneath," County Extension Agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in Wichita County, David Graf said.

Dwayne Peirce a farmer in Wichita County said these animals can weigh more than 300 lbs and cause damage to his property.

"They've rooted the soil out from around this post to where it will con longer support the fence like it should," Peirce said.

The damage continues into his fields.

"Right now we can see a lot of tracks where the hogs have walked through here," Peirce said. "Based on the size of these tracks we can tell some of these are pretty large animals. Large enough to be dangerous."

He says they are digging for food like johnsongrass rhizomes, bugs, and worms.

"They root this up out of the ground and eat this and has a result you can see this large area that they have rooted," Peirce said.

Graf said they can destroy a large area of land overnight.

"We have had damage that is considerably worse than this. Damage so bad that we cant drive tractors and equipment through," Peirce said.

Peirce and Graf agree the damage is worse if it happens to be in cultivated fields. They can leave holes more than two feet deep, and uproot rows of crops.

Peirce said he has heard of farmers losing as much as 30% of their crops to wildlife destruction.

Dr. John Tomecek, Extension Wildlife Specialist, with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension out of San Angelo is coming to Wichita Falls to discuss Wild hog control at the Farm and Ranch Expo.

"It's very difficult to control these," Wichita County Extension Agent, David Graf said.

Tomecek will also show construction of a popular corral trap and provide tips on catching wild hogs. The demonstration is free and will take place directly after the Farm and Ranch Expo on March 9 from 2-4 p.m. three miles north and east of Punkin Center.

Graf said you may not be able to use the same traps again.

"You may catch one or two and the rest of them just won't come back just because they are very very smart animals," Graf said.

A new product may be released in the next couple of weeks, a new way to kill and work to maintain the wild hog population. The new product is a warfarin based poison, an anticoagulant for the blood.

Graf says one of the concerns is it takes a while to kill the hog, so they are not sure what it will do if someone was to eat a hog that was exposed.

He reminds everyone to make sure you always cook the meat to 165 degrees.

Find more information about feral hogs, traps, and the class hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension at http://wichita.agrilife.org/ag/upcoming-ag-events/

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