Feral hogs were first introduced into Texas by the explorer Hernando de Soto in the mid-1500′s. However, it was not until the 1980′s that populations of feral swine literally exploded across the state due to a number of reasons including supplemental wildlife feeding and hog re-location for hunting purposes. Feral hogs are also smart--inefficient attempts to control their numbers make them wary and less susceptible to control measures and often result in the hogs becoming nocturnal. Lastly, feral hogs have a tremendous intrinsic rate of increase. Mature sows can have two litters per year and their female offspring can become sexually mature at 6 to 8 months of age and therefore are capable of producing a litter of their own before their first birthday!
With current technology, we cannot hope to eradicate feral swine. However, applied research projects have shown that we can effectively reduce the damage that feral hogs cause. For most landowners, trapping using large traps, pre-baiting and varying baits among traps that appeal to the feral hogs’ keen sense of smell increase the odds of trapping success.
Legal control methods include shooting, snaring, trapping and capture via the use of dogs that are specially trained for that purpose. These methods have shown to be useful in significantly reducing the damage feral hogs can cause. However, none of these techniques will guarantee total/permanent eradication of a hog population.
Feral hogs can carry a number of diseases, the most common being pseudorabies and swine brucellosis. Of these two diseases, swine brucellosis warrants particular concern because an infected hog can transmit the disease to humans. Hunters should take precautions by wearing rubber or latex gloves and eye wear while field dressing hogs and then thoroughly wash their hands and disinfect equipment used during that process. It is impossible to simply look at a feral hog and determine if it carries swine brucellosis, therefore better safe than sorry on all hogs field dressed! These diseases cannot be transmitted by consuming feral pork but as is the case for domestic pork products, thorough cooking (160 degrees F) is a must!
Since feral hogs are not protected in Texas, they may be taken at any time on private property. The only license requirement for feral hogs is a hunting license. For wildlife that is protected, such as white-tailed deer, there is a depredation permit that may be issued that allows a person to kill the protected wildlife. To obtain a depredation permit, a person must clearly show that wildlife protected by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code is causing serious damage to agricultural, horticultural, or aquacultural interests or other property, or is a threat to public safety. To begin the permit application process, the person who desires to kill the protected wildlife must give written notice of the facts to the county judge of the county or to the mayor of the municipality in which the damage or threat occurs.
No, there are no products registered for use as toxicants for feral hog control. The Texas Department of Agriculture has successfully prosecuted landowners that have chosen to try and reduce feral hog populations via the use of toxicants. Don’t do it–it is illegal!
In some cases ACS can assist with the trapping of feral hogs.
Source: Department of Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences Texas AgriLife Extension Service www.feralhogs.tamu.edu/faq/