Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

September 20, 2011

Hog Out Month in October

Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is challenging all 254 Texas counties to participate in Hog Out Month in October – a statewide challenge to decrease the state’s feral hog population.

This challenge, which Staples announced Tuesday morning, will coordinate various feral hog removal strategies implemented across the state into one statewide effort.

“Wild hogs are finding their way into urban and rural areas destroying yards, golf courses, parks and crops at a cost of up to $400 million each year,” Staples said. “These animals reproduce at staggering rates and are now a menace on Texas highways, which is why I encourage all Texans to continue to step up efforts to reduce the number of feral hogs and protect our state from further damage.”

Beginning Thursday, qualified hunters will be able to take to the skies to take aim at the state’s burgeoning feral hog population.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved rules for hunting the hogs and coyotes by helicopter, in accordance with House Bill 716 passed by the Texas Legislature earlier this year.

The new rules permit qualified landowners or their agents to pay helicopter operators for aerial operations. Qualification involves filing a form with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and does not involve a fee.

An estimated 2 million feral hogs live in Texas, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage across the state each year, according to the Texas Department of Agriculture. The statewide challenge, which kicks off Oct. 1 during Hog Out Month, will run through Dec. 31. Grants will be awarded to the five counties with the most hogs removed and highest participation in feral hog abatement programs.

The deadline for counties to submit a notice of intent to participate is Sept. 30.

In October 2010, Staples kicked off the first county challenge to rally Texans to reduce the number of feral hogs in the state.

The TDA works with the Wildlife Services branch of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, which removes thousands of hogs annually through various feral hog abatement strategies that result in an estimated savings of more than $4 million to Texas landowners.

Landowners are encouraged to call their local AgriLife Extension Agent for information on feral hog control measures.

“The only way to combat a problem as far-reaching as feral hogs is to aggressively employ multiple tactics in a coordinated and concentrated effort, starting at the local level,” Staples said. “Good local participation complements the work done in other communities resulting in a comprehensive statewide strategy.”

Counties may obtain a notice of intent to participate in the Hog Out Month challenge by visiting www.texasagriculture.gov, calling (512) 463-6695 or emailing Grants@TexasAgriculture.gov.

Texas Feral Hog Facts:

• Feral hogs cause an estimated $400 million in damages annually.

• There are an estimated 2 million feral hogs in Texas.

• Feral hogs are predators of lambs, kid goats, baby calves, newborn fawns and ground-nesting birds, and compete for food and space with many native species of wildlife.

• Feral hogs commonly destroy urban yards, parks and golf courses, as well as rangeland, pastures, crops, fencing, wildlife feeders and other property. Additionally, they contribute to E. coli and other diseases in Texas streams, ponds and watersheds.

• Vehicle collisions with feral hogs cause an estimated $1,200 in damage per collision, and create safety hazards for those involved.

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