Feral Hogs or “wild hogs” have made the news recently as they have taken up residence in some of our nicer housing additions. As we continue to struggle with our lack of rainfall our wildlife population is moving into those areas where the vegetation is the best and that happens to be our landscapes. If you think an armadillo is bad just have a 300 pound pig digging in your yard or flower beds and the real problem is not one pig it is the 10-20 that show up all at once.
Feral hogs are nothing but domesticated swine that have escaped domestication and returned to the wild. They have no trouble finding the wild a great place to live and they have done so well that their numbers are becoming staggering. For years they have caused havoc to farmers and ranchers but now they are moving closer and closer to population centers and finding an even better home. Part of this is due to the way we are building our new homes. We love the great outdoors and so are building homes with lots of open spaces or “wild” areas close by and most lots don’t have fences anymore. This proximity to nature means feral hogs have easy access to our landscapes and can cause hundreds of dollars in damage overnight.
What to do? This is the hard question because we can’t poison them, shooting them is impossible and fencing is impractical. The only solution is to trap them and that takes a cooperative effort. Most homeowners call the city and say, “what are you going to do?” Unfortunately most cities are not equipped to trap feral hogs or even dispose of feral hogs. What is needed is for homeowners associations and cities to work together much like rural county landowners do and work as a group to trap and take them away. Traps are easy to build (check out feralhogs.tamu.edu for a design) and if done properly it is not difficult to trap the whole herd in one night. Anyone up for grilled pork chops tonight???
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- Bob Whitney
- As an Agriculture Extension Agent for Texas AgriLife Extension Service I have had an opportunity to be involved in just about every aspect of agriculture. From the 5,000 cow dairy to the types of trees to use in a home landscape I have had a chance to learn how the different parts of an agriculture systems work together. Seedless watermelons, drip irrigation, pecan orchard management, fruit crop development, dairy nutrient management, environmental issues confronting agriculture, producer tours, field days, research projects and more have been a part of my life for over 30 years as I lived and breathed agriculture. Since 2004 I have been actively involved in consulting internationally working in Honduras, Guatemala, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, India, and China. I have worked with missionaries and other groups dedicated to alleviating poverty among third world farmers. I lived in the Middle East in 2007-2008 working on a project for the Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. In this project I was the Chief of Party and Team Leader for a $5.7 Million dollar effort to train Iraqi Extension agents and specialists in all aspects of agriculture.