Wild pigs causing destruction in South Texas
LAVACA COUNTY, Texas – Wild pigs have been wreaking havoc in parts of South Texas for decades, but pigs seem to be gaining a stronghold throughout Lone Star state, now occupying 79% of the Texas landscape.
Wild pigs primarily cause headaches for Texas farmers, destroying crops and costing Texas farmers an estimated $ 52 million in damage each year.
David Hahn is a farmer in Port Lavaca and says feral pigs are nothing new to him, but he has noticed a slight increase not only in their populations, but also in their destructive nature.
“Wild pigs are becoming a growing problem every year, we didn’t have any problems with them. They can do a lot of damage overnight. You can get 15 to 20 pigs there and they’ll occupy a few acres, ”says Hahn.
Hahn also says pigs aren’t picky eaters and will eat just about anything from newly planted seeds to mature corn stocks. He also says they aren’t efficient eaters either, noting that the pigs will slaughter a stock of corn, take a few bites and move on to the next, effectively wiping out his crops.
Hahn estimated that for every acre lost to pigs he loses about $ 600, adding that they can destroy up to 10 acres per night, costing farmers like Hahn $ 6,000 in lost crops overnight. .
Farmers had to get creative to fix the pork problem. High powered rifles, night vision goggles, traps, a team of hunting dogs, and even the use of helicopters to gain an aerial advantage over pigs are all methods Texans use to fight pigs, but there has been no noise solution to deal with them. In 2019, the Texas legislature even passed a law removing the requirement for a hog hunting license if they were hunted on private property. Some farmers compare pigs to those of a rat in terms of the amount of harmful insects they represent.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension has researched feral pigs and the problems they cause, but farmers are still reeling from the damage caused by pigs. You can visit the AgriLife Extension page here for a variety of resources on managing feral pigs.
Wild pigs are an exotic and invasive species that first appeared in present-day Texas in 1542 when Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto brought in nearly 700 pigs as a traveling food source. Some of the pigs managed to escape and have since thrived in the Texas landscape.
Pigs weigh around 200 pounds, but some have even been reported to weigh up to 500 pounds. With their swift movements, hard tusks that can impale human flesh, and coarse hair, feral pigs are hardy and are difficult creatures to track down and hunt. Pigs typically have one to two litters per year with five to six babies in each litter. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension estimates that if the feral pig population is left unchecked, it could double in size in just five years.
Until there is a more effective solution to dealing with feral pigs, Texas farmers will have to continue caring for pigs as best they can.
Be sure to watch a 25 News Now Extra, “HOG WILD,” which delves into the wild hog problem in parts of South Texas. Hear two farmers and the Calhoun County judge talk about their dealings with feral pigs.
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