Hunt­ing alone can’t halt spread

Hogs

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - Con­tin­ued from B WHERE CAN YOU TURN IN YOUR HOGS’ TAILS? Hays County Cald­well County Contributed by billy Hig­gin­botham Con­tact Farzad Mashhood at 445-3972. Twit­ter: @fmash­hood

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.

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