Hunting alone can’t halt spread
have approved a $2-perhog bounty to entice hunters. Hays County approved spending up to $1,500 on the bounties; officials estimate that fewer than 100 hog tails have been turned in there. Caldwell County approved up to $2,000 in bounties; more than 600 of the creatures have been killed or captured for slaughter there.
Researchers have cautioned that hunting alone can’t control the feral hog population growth. Hunting culls populations by 8 to 50 percent, but to hold growth constant, 60 to 70 percent of the population needs to be culled annually.
Still, any program that increases awareness of feral hogs and the problems they cause is helpful, said Billy Higginbotham, a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension faculty member in Groveton. He said feral hogs “are an exotic species, and many of these exotic species — be they plant or animal — compete with native species ... for food, space or cover. In some cases, they prey directly upon native species.”
Helicopter Tours of Texas pilot Steve Van Buren estimates that hunters he has flown in Central Texas have killed 250 to 300 feral hogs here since October.
“I have probably only once gotten skunked and not gotten anything, but they’re usually in big packs,” Van Buren said.
Dornak said many hunters tell him that they eat the hogs they kill. The meat has a similar, though leaner and sometimes gamier, taste to farmraised pork, he said. Triple S Feed, 2111 U.S. 290 in Dripping Springs, 512-894-0344 King Feed, Garden and Hardware, 14210 Ranch Road 12 in Wimberley, 512-847-2618 McCoy’s Building and Supply, 110 Wonder World Drive in San Marcos, 512-396-1755 Salt Flat Feed and Mercantile, 898 N. Magnolia Ave. in Luling, 830-875-8800 Caldwell County Farm & Ranch, 519 N. Colorado St. in Lockhart, 512-398-2727 Plum Creek Watershed Partnership Office, 1403 Blackjack St., Suite B, in Lockhart, 512-213-7389
The 2.6 million feral hogs in Texas cause $52 million in agricultural losses a year. They’re also a danger to drivers, particularly on Texas 130.