Dr. Lynn Stucky
Feral hogs have increasingly become a problem in North Texas, including the eastern portion of Robson Ranch. In fact, one could say they have gone “hog wild!” According to the Texas A&M Agri-Life Extension, there are an estimated 4 to 5 million feral hogs in the United States and approximately 2 million of those call Texas home. The estimated damage from these hogs is about $52 million annually, mainly to agricultural lands. Hunting and trapping have proven to be effective in congested areas, but since these wild hogs can travel long distances and have short gestation periods with litters producing 4-6 babies at a time, the numbers are rapidly getting out of hand.
With rapid development and urbanization, we are spreading our footprint into what formerly were rural fields and pastures where wildlife went unnoticed except for farmers, ranchers, and hunters. Now we are seeing the consequences throughout Texas as whitetail deer graze in well-manicured lawns and feral hogs root up the greens on the back nine. Researchers are diligently looking for ways to deter wildlife from encroaching on new residential areas, but with such rapid growth in north Texas, it is inevitable that some neighborhoods will be affected, as Robson Ranch has discovered.
However, there are ways to fight back against the feral hogs.
During the 85th legislative session, I attempted to address the issue of how to correctly eradicate feral hogs in a bill I sponsored which would have required more scientific data on unintended consequences and collateral damage for a feral hog pesticide containing warfarin before it could be approved for use in Texas. Though the bill ultimately did not pass, we did slow down the process enough to have stakeholders come to table and engage in a productive discussion about how responsibly to address the issue. Texas Farm Bureau and The Cattle Raisers Association are on the front lines working with industry to find the best way to deal with the rising problem. New studies using sodium nitrite show promise, and will be field tested in Texas and Alabama in 2018. I favor this type of bait because the mechanism of action kills the hogs quickly and is not as dangerous to domestic animal as warfarin. I and other members of the legislature will work with the industry any way we can to curb the infestation of feral hogs. As always, you can contact my Denton or Austin office with any questions or concerns regarding this matter or other issues. You can reach the office at 940/243-0230, [email protected] or stop by my district office in the First State Bank Bldg., 400 W. Oak, Suite 106 in Denton.