Hunting News

Texas to Pay Sportsmen to Hunt Hogs

There are over five million feral pigs in America and no state has more than Texas.

There are over five million feral pigs in America and no state has more than Texas.

There are an estimated five million feral pigs in the United States, half of which are located in the Lone Star State. Texas already spends $7 million on their hog management programs but experts say that is not enough to prevent the population from tripling in the next five years. To keep the pigs under control, the state will have to eliminate nearly 66 percent of the swine every year. For comparison, hunters and trappers accounted for over 750,000 pigs harvested in 2010, only 29 percent of the population.

However, Texas does have a few cards up its sleeve, and the foremost of these is boasting one of the largest and most dedicated hunting cultures in America. Hunting hogs has not only become a Texas tradition, but now a necessity.

Many hunters bemoan the fact that while hogs are undoubtedly detrimental to the land, many landowners still charge a fee for hunting on their property. With the addition of equipment and ammunition, these hunts can become very pricey. Now the state is offering an extra incentive in the form of bounties. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) will be partnering with county governments to launch the 2013 County Hog Abatement Matching Program (CHAMP). The initiative will encourage counties to match state funding dollar-for-dollar up to $30,000, which will be then paid to hunters.

In order to receive state funds county governments will have to apply for the program by July 1. The Cove Herald reports that several counties have already signed up for CHAMP including Milam, Falls, Bell, and Hamilton counties.

Feral pigs can be destructive enough on land, but the animals are also having a significant impact on the state’s waterways. In the Leon River Watershed alone there are an estimated 26,000 pigs. Their destructive behavior and fecal matter pushed the watershed into the “impaired” rating by the Environmental Protection Agency. The abundance of bacteria introduced by the pigs is also affecting native wildlife and flora.

“One of the biggest things I can do to control the feral hog impact is to help the counties get more funding for feral hog abatement,” said Mike Marshall, coordinator for the Leon River Watershed.

Hogs are also found on farms, golf courses, and residential areas in every one of the state’s 54 counties. The animals have caused an estimated $500 million in damages. Part of the reason for their success is how adaptable pigs are in the wild. Capable of producing one-and-a-half litters per year, pigs are growing far faster than they can be destroyed.

“The feral hog population has exploded in the last 20 years, and our ability to control them will depend on two primary factors,” TDA Commissioner Todd Staples told the Southwest Farm Press. “First, our efforts must be coordinated across all public entities and private landowners. Second, we must focus on the most low-cost, high-return methods when investing limited taxpayer dollars into this effort.”

In 2010 the department created the Hog Out Challenge that encouraged hunters to harvest pigs, leading to a high number of pigs removed. Texas is once again looking for a similar low-cost, results-producing strategy.

“This is both an urban and rural problem that directly impacts our economy and the future of Texas agriculture,” Staples added. “We need to step up our efforts to thwart these dangerous creatures, and CHAMP does just that.”

Image courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • justsayin’

    In the Leon River Watershed alone, there are 26,000 feral hogs, at this time. So, $30,000 will place a bounty on each hog harvested at under $1.16 per hog. If there are 260,000 hogs removed, $11.60 per hog ??? Do the math!

    • Scott H

      Did you fail math? It stated that counties will match state funding dollar-for-dollar UP TO $30k, meaning $60k… Anything after that the county doesn’t have to match… and even then that doesn’t mean if you turn in all the hogs that is all you get… It never mentioned how much each hog is worth. Go back to school kid. I always see you trolling around saying the dumbest shit ever.

  • justsayin’

    Sorry. That figure would be less than 12 cents per hog!

  • GaryDDowdy

    You have to remove 75% of the hogs per year to simply maintain the current population. To reduce it will take popularizing the sport of hog hunting. I was a writer for Boar Hunter Magazine for 7 years. Magazines have to sell ads to stay in business. Most potential advertisers consider hog hunting a small “niche” market and are hesitant to buy. Popularize it more through outdoor media.

  • Glenn Hutchinson

    Make it more affordable to hunt and out of staters may help with your problem.
    For instance I live 750 miles from Houston, by the time I pay for gas and lodging and food, buy an out of state hunting license and then to add insult to injury have to pay some landowner to harvest the pigs that are destroying their land why would I do this; I will not!

    • medic2003

      That’s what I’m say in. Make it affordable and I know a bunch of us would come down for a week and shoot the tar out of hogs.

      • Scott H

        I know I would!

      • jeff

        you can bet I would do it if I could make a little money im in.

  • SGT Big Dawg

    It’s about time but as usual it already to late as even with this program the population has gotten so big that this will not be the answer to this problem. There was one ranch that for years offered ” free ” hog hunts which of course ended up costing the hunter a minimum of $750.00 for each hog. The attorney general there finally stepped in and shut them down. The hogs got so bad here in GA at Fort Benning located in middle Columbus, GA that they offered a $25.00 bounty for each hog tail turned in that was killed on base property. Hogs are smart and when hunted hard they will turn nocturnal and only move and feed and drink at night. They were even using helicopters with IR to assist hunters because the hogs were causing so much damage to base property. The only way to rid one’s property of hogs is to kill every one you can focusing on the sow’s as they are the one’s turning out the 1 and a 1/2 litter of piglets per year. Hogs are extremely dangerous to hunt as they will turn and attack when cornered or wounded. A lot of folks use dogs which is a great way to hunt them but is expensive. Want help with hogs then the ranchers should offer truly FREE hog hunting on their ranches and give as much help to the hunters as they can. They should make and maintain a list of ranches that will allow hunters to come onto their ranches and kill hogs.

    • medic2003

      Agreed. If I gotta buy a hunting license so be it but don’t charge me for the privilege of helping u get rid of a pest.

      • Steve Thomas

        A hunting license, for hogs only, should cost $2. Illinois charges $250 per net for commercial fishing licenses, and look at the problem with Asian carp. No one is inclined to help.
        I just bought hunting property in south Texas. We are moving there. I plan to hunt hogs instead of watching reruns on TV.

      • justaskin’

        Steve Thomas. Are you inviting me to hunt hogs on your property for free?

  • medic2003

    Heck I’d go hunt em for no bounty if I could hunt somewhere for free. It would b a blast to go down there and stack bacon. I know a few of us Missouri boys that would love to come down and help thin out the herd.

    • Big Arch

      Don’t you have hogs in Missouri? Just asking?

      • medic2003

        Compared to Texas we have very few and they are shoot on sight, kill by whatever means necessary. Our game agents hunt em hard when they find em on public land even to the extent of using helicopters. That said we don’t really have a huntable population yet and we don’t want one.

  • BigArch

    I see the “reality” shows on TV where people are catching hogs. To this dumb ole country boy that is about the dumbest way one could ever reduce the wild hog herds. Trapping these critters is not rocket science and will do a heck of a lot more good then trying to catch these porkers one at the time.

    • medic2003

      Retired conservation agent here did just that on him mothers place in the southern part of MO. I don’t know how many he got but I’m positive it was several.

  • Robby777

    Needs more widespread publication. I don’t blame ranchers for making a buck, but some are outrageous in their prices ! Laws need to be changed so that the pork harvested can go to homeless shelters and charities…

    • Scott H

      Assuming the hogs aren’t infected or worse…

  • Robby777

    Most hunters in Texas have the equipment to hunt pigs. Make sure the bounty must go to the hunters not the landowners/outfitters.

    • medic2003

      No they shouldn’t make a buck if the animals are such a problem that there needs to be a bounty. There used to b a bounty on coyotes in this state. Even now, years after the bounty was lifted, if guys are running dogs trying to kill coyotes most guys allow it as long as they don’t tear up property or rut up the meadows.

  • Bill Karr @ Western Outdoor Ne

    I’ve got a huge readership of hunters here in California, and they’re dying to hunt pigs. I’m sure I could arrange a trip to Texas with a dozen or so hunters who would be happy to pay a reasonable fee for lodging/meals and access to wild pig hunting if anyone out there has a hunting ranch that might want to make a few dollars and get rid of some pigs. Let me know if anyone is interested? Thanks, Bill Karr, Editor, Western Outdoor News, NorCal

    • Chris Stephens

      Got the land and the pigs. Facilities to hold your guys. You interested in spanking some pigs?

  • river boar hog hunters

    sounds good to me i wood like to get paid to hunt me and my friends and family hunt alot all over texas i wood like to know more about this

  • J from TX

    Hunting hogs is a blast… if the hogs slip up enough to even give you a shot. They can detect certain scents from 5-7 miles away. They’re also very smart. So if they detect something’s wrong… they don’t stick around to find out what it is. Sure, people are successful at hunting them. But ask them how many tries it took. Arial hunting sounds more promising, but it also promises to be a bit more expensive. If you’re looking for a good time, hunt them. If you’re looking for a good solution, trap them.

  • feedtherichtothepoor

    I’ll hunt them for free, just to get in trigger practice…..

  • Robby777

    Damn! Just kill as many as you can. Especially the sows! Duh ! Trophy Boar hunting is a shqm.- they just want hogs to hunt – as if there aren’t enough now ! Control hunting is way different than sport hunting. Learn the difference!

  • jeff

    can someone tell me about the going rate land owners pay for killing hogs?

    • jeramy cleghorn

      Generally you pay them.

    • Al Fehr

      Farmers pay you ??? are you serious, they’ll charge you around $125 to $200 a day to shoot their “problem hogs and are tearing up their land. What needs to be done, is people stop paying them, and not kill any hogs for a few month’s. Then these ranchers and farmers will be willing to allow free hunting…. It’s all about the money, not the hogs… They all need to stop crying and live with it… that or allow hunting…

  • Chantel Hubbard

    Too bad they can’t just put up snares everywhere and catch them that way…. but that would destroy all the natural wildlife that people want to keep. Messy situation. If money weren’t an issue all of America would go to the south to take care of this problem, then have one big bar b que the size of Texas ahahahaha im up for it!

  • Mark Cogley

    Well if people don’t go to Texas and show them how to shoot were going to have hogs all the way up in main

    • Matt Saunders

      I own 133 acres in S TX & between trapping & hunting we’ve killed as many as 63 hogs in 1 year. I was in the military (Army) for 9 years & always qualified expert with any weapon I tried. There are plenty of good ol’ boys down here that put me & most military expert-qualified individuals to shame. Sounds to me like you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about & you’re just trying to boost your own low self confidence. I now have CNS nerve damage that causes me to have uncontrollable tremors & I’ll still school you on the range.

      • jeramy cleghorn

        Your exactly right Matt. These pork chops aren’t stupid. They know human smell and know they’re hunted. Knowing how to shoot has no bearing when they won’t go where you can get them in your sight. Not only have several guys in my area been trying to take a local drove out for almost a year now, we’ve had several hog hunters try to put a dent in their numbers. No luck as they’ve moved their path to the thickets in the creek bottoms (county owned land… no hunting!), and through properties the owners don’t allow hunting on, coming up onto our own privately owned lands only periodically. One would THINK “problem solved” however they are now more of a danger to the general public driving through the area as they have also taken to spending more time on public roadways that cross the creek bed. A full grown boar plus a Honda Accord going 45 to 60 miles an hour equals a tow truck call and one PISSED OFF piggy. In the past six months I’ve seen the stated Honda, a Ford Taurus, Suzuki Swift, Chevy Cobalt and a V.W. Jetta towed from the same crossing. Trucks with a good ol boy brush bumper… now that’s a different story. However its not very smart to eat meat off the asphalt after it’s been “grilled”.

  • rip

    I think they need to put sit prices on the amount of hogs u kill are just let us ark boys come hunt for free and not charge us for helping we can take care of are kill are self and why try to make money off people that want to help you on your problem there is always some one that wants money that’s what this world has came to all about money

  • CTD

    If a rancher takes Fed. money they shouldn’t charge to kill hogs on their property. In a round about way I have already paid!

  • SaveTwentyFiveHunnertPeriod!

    “Hogs are also found on farms, golf courses, and residential areas in every one of the state’s 54 counties. ”

    Texas should invent a new sport: ‘Summer Biathlon’.

    Merely pack your favorite baconmakin long rifle with your golf clubs. Bonus if you actually take out a hog with your golf ball.

    • infadelicious

      Don’t go hunting on an empty stomach……….. LOL

      • Cure Lefty

        You’ve got to watch over your shoulder for Wookies when you lay out a spread like that….

      • infadelicious

        And you have to warn people of your changing avatars ha ha ha ha……….. I spit coffee all over my bacon, which actually isn’t bad… but made the cheese go funny………….LOL

      • Cure Lefty

        Daggone it those emails musta got lost with Lois Lerner’s….Sorry Boss!

  • MyFreeInsuranceIsUp65%

    “There are over five million feral pigs in America and no state has more than Texas.”
    I’d say! Closer to 70 million and they all voted for Obama.

    • Cure Lefty

      It’s a cryin shame too, that they repeated their mistake even though they had no reason to believe that they would save twenty five hunnert on their family health insurance period….