Hunting News

U.S. Feral Pig Problem Increasing, Texas Hog Population to Triple in Five Years

Feral Pigs can also transmit disease to livestock

Feral Pigs can also transmit disease to livestock

It is no question that the nation’s feral pig numbers are on the rise, to the detriment of both farmers and native wildlife. New Mexico recently launched a $1 million project that will involve both wildlife employees and hunters in an effort to quell the hogs’ population boom, but it is outmatched by nearby Texas, which spends $7 million on their management programs. Over 5 million feral pigs exist in the nation, and Texas is bearing the brunt of their destructive habits.

Nearly half of the country’s feral pigs reside in Texas. According to a study conducted by researchers at Texas A&M University, that number is expected to triple by the next five years. Just in agricultural damages, the hogs cause upwards of $52 million per year. Feral pigs have the highest reproductive of any hoofed animal and produce 1 and a half litters every year. This is not surprising since the animals become sexually mature at 8 months and raise litters of 4 to 6 piglets.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports that to keep the invasive species in check, Texas would have to cull nearly 66 percent of the animals to prevent them from breeding. That is a very tall order. In a 2010 survey taken by the state’s landowners, trapping and hunting methods accounted to 754,646 pigs taken in that year, amounting to roughly 29 percent of the population.

Wildlife officials maintain that coordinated efforts are needed to combat the population rise. To this end, many states are calling for more hunters to hit the field with the hogs in mind. As an invasive species, hunting regulations on feral pigs are often minimal, so be sure to check with your local wildlife agency office.

Image courtesy Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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  • mr Bill

    “Here, Piggy,Piggy,Piggy!”

  • Ben

    Make it an open season all year long with no bag limits and that will shrink down the population. When people get done hunting the hogs, donate the meat to food shelters. It will be a win win situation where everyone wins.

    • http://www.facebook.com/melissa.l.brimhall Melissa Layton Brimhall

      The problem is the private land situation. While this is a solvable problem, the way many ranches, approach it doesn’t help. Nearly all of Texas is private land and land owners, while many complain about the wild hog’s destructive nature, most of those same complainers won’t let hunters on their land w/o charging hundreds (perhaps thousands…many have a base fee at the beginning of the hunt, and will charge you a fee per animal you shoot) of dollars for the privilege. While I’m a fan of supply side economics and the free market, I have little compassion for land owners in Texas who want both to reduce their feral hog problem and charge hunters several hundred dollars to cull the hogs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cary.barron.1 Cary Barron

    I live in Tx.and have my rifle ready. If you want me to help you with your “problem” don’t try to make a bunch of cash off of me. I do believe that when it becomes a big enough problem, greed will be overtaken by need.