Feral Hog Population Control Methods Across Texas
Texas currently has the largest feral hog population in the nation; the invasive species has been documented in 253 of Texas’ 254 counties, and the state has an estimated total population of approximately 2.6 million hogs that can cause millions of dollars in damage each year. As hog hunters, we know one of the most effective ways to get rid of hogs is good, old fashioned ground hunting. But what happens when the population appears in a residential area, or grows faster than we can pick them off? Several areas across Texas have been implementing some conventional – and unconventional – methods of population control for just this reason.
The Kingwood area is seeing a resurgence of feral hogs, particularly in residential areas that front Lake Houston, including the Kings Point, Enclave, and Royal Shores subdivisions. The Kingwood area is no stranger to the invasive species – in 2013, an influx of feral hogs wreaked havoc on residential neighborhoods, prompting community associations and the Kingwood Service Association (KSA), which manages the city’s area parks, to hire a professional trapper to reduce and control the population. The trapping method (arguably the only viable method of population control within the residential area, where shooting is not allowed) seemed to work – trapper Geraldo Garcia was able to remove approximately 40 hogs from the area – until October of this year, when residents began reporting feral hog incidents. The issue was first brought up at a Kingwood Town Hall meeting on October 13, and was addressed again at a KSA meeting on November 5. An estimated 40 feral hogs are currently in the suburban area.
The increase in hog-related incidents has prompted the city to revisit the trapping efforts that proved successful in 2013. According to Houston City Council Member Dave Martin, who represents the Kingwood district, the city is currently undergoing the complicated bid process to employ a trapper. The trapper is slated to begin rounding up the hogs in early December, focusing efforts near Lake Houston. Until the population can be contained, the KSA is encouraging residents to report feral hog damage on their website.
Much like Kingwood, the Dallas area saw an increase in the hog population in 2013; unlike their sister city, the steps Dallas took to reduce the hog population was unsuccessful. Notably, City Hall awarded a $284,000 pig-trapping contract to private contractor Osvaldo Rojas, whose company was slated to eradicate Dallas’ feral hog population over a three year period. The contract was never executed.
Two years later, Dallas is ready to give hog control another shot. Becky Rader, a newly appointed member of the Dallas Park and Recreation Board, told the Dallas Observer that the Parks and Recreation Department would be issue a request for proposals shortly.
A company in Bryan, Texas is using an unconventional method to hog population control – hunting from the skies, rather than the ground. The whimsically named “Helibacon” is a hog hunting company that promises a unique helicopter hog hunting experience that claims to effectively reduce the hog population by facilitating the killing of up to 30 hogs on one hunt. The company has access to fly and hunt over approximately 100,000 acres of land in the Bryan/College Station area.
“It’s helicopter hog depredation, instead of using poison, we use a helicopter and machine guns,” pilot John Dumont told KBTX.com.
What Can You Do?
If you’re a hunter in Texas, you can help curb the growth of the feral hog species. Due to the rapidly expanding population of feral hogs, Texas allows hog hunting year round. Check out our hog hunting regulations page for more information on how you can get involved.