Opinion

What Should Texas Do with Its Hog Problem?

skyhog

We have all heard the horror stories of the over-abundant number of wild hogs sweeping the state of Texas. The saying goes that there’s two types of places in Texas: those with hogs and those that soon will have them.

The state in general has gathered a lot of research, assisted in opening and legalizing many new holding facilities and has even gone as far as to allow wild hogs to be shot from helicopters. All of these items are great, but none really cater to the largest source of hog eradication in the state–the local, average, salaried hunter.

The problem at hand

With everybody griping about the damage caused by hogs, you’d think they’d be happy to let you shoot them, right? NOT! Wild hogs and their newfound popularity are bringing a higher hunt fee year in and year out.  At the turn of this new year I have found the lowest price to be about $100 per day, with no lodging and meals and a two-day minimum, and the higher end prices are running around $1,500 for three days and four pigs with lodging and meals.

Even at the low end, hog hunts price a lot of people out of the opportunity to kill a few. However, there is a huge demand for hog hunts in the state of Texas. Is the state of Texas missing out on a new source of income?

Turning our problems into revenue

Hear me out before you call me completely crazy and understand that this same model is used daily on a smaller scale with private ranches throughout the state. Would it be possible for the state to erect their own buying stations or public hog hunting ranches?

Here’s the idea: Station A is located in North Texas. Station A agrees to pay $15 per pig for every live pig brought into the station. Station A also has a 500-acre (random number) fenced hunting area in which the hogs are released after purchase from the trappers. Two guides will have full-time jobs working Station A’s 500-acre hunting facility. Work will include dropping off and picking up hunters, maintaining the log of hogs killed, keeping bait stations filled and maintained and assisting hunters with their kills. The two guides will earn $60.00 per day plus any tips they receive from hunters.

To hunt Station A, clients will pay a $15 trespassing fee plus an additional $40 for each hog they kill. There will be no lodging or meals provided, but there will be designated campgrounds where you can set up your tents and cookers.

How this benefits the average hunter

Let’s say Bob really wants to get a couple of pigs but can’t stomach paying even the low end of $200 for a “chance” at two hogs. Bob now has the opportunity to pick his own amount of hunting days at Station A, at a price of just $15 per day. Bob also knows that if he doesn’t kill a hog, he only loses his $15 trespassing fee instead of $200. Bob could go to Station A for a one-day hunt, kill two hogs, and go home that night having paid $95 for a full day of hunting and two hogs.

This gives guys like Bob the opportunity to participate in wild hog hunting without having to dish out a ton of money for an animal that people are supposedly “trying to get rid of.”

What this costs the state

My new feeder just two days after setting it up!

That’s an extremely tough question to answer but here’s a rough idea.

  • Land and buying station facility
  • Two guides and two buy station employees at $60/day
  • Assuming 10 bait stations, $540/month in feed
  • $1,700 initial feeder set up cost
  • $1,000 initial blind set up cost
  • Two vehicles
  • Campsite water and electric
  • Insurance

How the state makes money

Let’s take another look at Bob. Bob paid a $15 trespassing fee and shot two hogs at $40 each. Let’s also say that Bob brought two buddies with him that experienced the same hunt. All three men were guided that day by Big Jim.

  • Bob and friends: $15 x 3 = $45 trespassing and $40 x 6 = $240, for a total of $285
  • The state paid $60 for Big Jim plus 6 x $15 = $90 for the hogs, for a total of $150

Now you would obviously have to take into account the per day cost of all other bills, but you can see fairly easily that the state does have plenty of potential to profit from such a venture.

Conclusion

Realistically, this idea would get shot down by the majority of people who have the actual pull to make something like this happen. But to a guy like me who is sick of hearing how bad of a feral hog problem we have while having to do strenuous research just to locate a place to hunt them without having to take out a loan, this idea seems great!

Images courtesy Sky Watkins, featured image copyright iStockPhoto.com/Laurie L. Snidow

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.
  • OregonGreg

    Well Sky, you are moving in the right direction. Up here in Oregon, feral hogs are identified as a non-native invasive species ( like San Francisco liberals). You simply buy a big game hunting license and go kill as many as you wish. The season never ends. There is a lot of public land to hunt on. I recommend the Oregon approach. Your suggestion has the state raising feral hogs in captivity. (like subsidized housing).

    • Sky Watkins

      I agree with you to an extent Greg. The problem here in Texas is that they are already; 1: being raised in captivity but I don’t believe the environment is always controlled properly and 2: we can already kill as many as we wish you just better be willing to pay the outfitter when you do.

      Texas is mostly private land so it cost big bucks to hunt.

  • Teesquare

    If the feral hog problem as we are led to believe…Then WHY doesn’t the state treat them like coyotes? OFFER A BOUNTY!!!!!
    And – if the hogs are doing the damage to lang, crops, and cattle as we are told – then farmers and ranchers are being stupid by charging hunters – when they should be PAYING hunters to remove the problem.
    In the face of logic – there is always greed and politics staring back……

    • Doug

      Coyotes here in Washington sometimes are a problem for cattle ranchers, but mostly just eat the same mice the hawks, owls and ravens are eating. They’re native, and a part of the west. Feral hogs and wild boars are non-native and destroy the forest understory so are a threat to native plant communities and native wildlife. This means, shoot ‘em and eat ‘em! I wanna’ start making my own cured hams and sausage with ‘em. Charge me to kill ‘em on your property? No way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/glenn.hutchinson.503 Glenn Hutchinson

    I’ve discussed this problem before and my argument was the travel, motel bills, charges for hunting ,trophy fee’s, license fees and in the end it is just much less expensive to buy pork at wall-mart.
    I think the hunts I checked on were about 1000 miles from where I live in Alabama, and the trophy fee’s were $250 per hog,hell let the hogs keep rooting!

    I truly believe that these hogs are still being released out there just so greedy land owners can make a bundle and I for one am tired of hearing about their so called problem.

  • AZDave

    I agree with the complaining then charging argument. Luckily we have few feral hogs in Arizona due to lack of water. They are designated as invasive and you don’t even need a hunting license to take them.

  • gregg

    If you put a hog in a fence, he gets out.

  • Chapper

    Sky–agree with OregonGreg. We have them in AL and it is a simple matter of asking farmers to hunt the hogs, they are happy to have you do so.

    • Sky Watkins

      Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that here in Texas for the most part. It would. Be nice if it did though!

  • Harry Ewing

    It is obvious the Ferel Hogs are becoming a menace everywhere. Probably nearly every hunter ( and I have 60+ years of hunting ) would enjoy a day or two in the field, hunting the hogs. So that eliminates an extremly low percentage of the problem. It would seem to me a different approach, and yes, it will cost the State Conservation Depts. some money. here is my thought: Determine their 3 most favorite foods and formulize a replacement food with an ingredient which would kill the sperm of the males, and also prevent the females from ovulation of reproducing the egg. That replacement food obviously would have to be ” selectively placed ” in enough places to serve as a calling card for the pigs to feed on. Eventually, that should curb reproduction and initiate the first successful step to curtail the expansion of pig herds.
    My theory is: nothing ventured, nothing gained. Good Luck. H M E…New York State

  • rich

    everyone (government,land owners,outfitters and guides ) all want to get into the pockets of the sportsman. That’s all fine and dandy if the sportsmen have pockets full of money ,but how about the average working stiff with a family to feed and bills to pay ? Why can’t Texas just have some puplic hunting ground or walkin areas for the average Joe . Maybe they do , don’t know anything about the great state of Taxes , never been there .

    • Sky Watkins

      Rich, we do have a few places to hunt public land in Texas but your chances are very limited and there is a ton of pressure. The pocket books is the main reason of me writing this article. My though was that we all, gov included, could benefit from something like this.

  • BigBird

    If landowners in Texas are complaining about the hogs, but won’t open there land to the public they shouldn’t be receiving any crop damage payments or hog management expertise or other taxpayer subsidized help with the problem. Texas has about the lowest per capita public lands. The old joke is: “Where does a working class Texan hunt?” answer: “New Mexico”.

  • Gerald

    Once trapped and that should be the end of that hog!!!!
    Gerald D IL.

  • critter

    The hogs must not be that big of a problem or else landoweners would allow people to hunt them for free. And if that dont work and the problem gets worse then they should pay hunters to hunt them. I do go down there(Texas) every year to hunt them and pay 100.00 a day each of us and there are 5 or six of us. And we have not seen all that many hogs, in fact most years we do not see any(our stay is 5-7 days at a time)It aint a problem till they are willing to pay to have them removed,IMO.

  • One shot Spike

    I say T.S. I volunteered to come down to hunt feral hogs.

    All I got in return is I needed to pay for guides, locations, licenses, lodging, carcass rendering.

    They want me to pay to remove their trash.

  • bullseye1172003

    I would like to hunt those hogs if the costs would come down.
    Here in Ohio many are in fenced land and costs around $600-$1000
    then housing, butchering and processing costs more! Plus tips!!
    How about letting EACH hunter kill 3 hogs and donating to feed the hungry and those who need the help. and he could keep one hog for himself.

  • Patrick50

    I don’t comprehend why some hunters feel that feral hog hunting on private lands should be free. Texas landowners look at the hunting of wild hogs as a depredation problem as well as a potential opportunity to supplement income. It is not practical to simply open up private ranches to the general public. Hunters have to be managed – even good ones. Hunters need to know where boundaries are, where livestock are, where to camp, where blinds and feeders are, and in some cases, it is necessary to assure that game laws are not being broken, garbage is removed, and etc. I have considered some form of hog hunting leases on my pastures, but haven’t justified the trouble being worth the low revenue it might generate. For now I invite friends and family to hunt the hogs. I also plan to start a trapping program to manage populations.

  • Guest

    Plenty of data shows recreational hunting will not reduce feral hog populations. The Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and AgriLife Extension Service did a study and found that we need to remove 60-70% of the population every year just to keep it from growing. Currently we are only taking about 30%.