The Perils of Feral Pigs

Wild hogs, I've now learned, are a major problem in Texas.
by | August 4, 2010

One of the great things about blogging is everything you learn from your commenters. Case in point: Last week, I was schooled on the scourge of feral pigs. First, here's what I said in a post on Texas State Rep. Sid Miller and rural redistricting:

Even with the legislature as it currently is composed, it's not as though Miller has been able to win on some of the quirkier (quirkier from the perspective of a city slicker, anyway) rural causes he's supported. Among Miller's measures that have stalled: his push to overturn the ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption (in foreign countries) and his push to allow farmers to sell rights to aerial hunting of feral hogs on their land.

A Texan offered this response:

Well city-slicker, a little FYI on Rep. Miller's "quirky" proposals... Feral hog populations have and continue to escalate exponentially. They are difficult, nearly impossible to control. This species was introduced by the Spanish Conquistadors and other early European settlers. It has no natural predator. Feral hogs can be extremely aggressive, and have been known to attack and even kill humans. Their presence on a farm or ranch can cause devastating consequences to private property and crop losses. Unfortunately, hunting and killing them is the only means for which to manage their population numbers. Aerial hunting may just be the best way to control their numbers. Keep in mind some of the ranches we are talking about may span tens of thousands of acres. That's a lot of ground to cover! Some of these ranchers already utilize helicopters to manage their livestock herds and to monitor wildlife populations. Why not also to control feral hogs?

Plenty of Texans agree with the commenter. Here's a video (produced by someone named Katie Cantrell) that discusses the feral hog issue and shows some of the damage the pigs can cause:

Here's an article from the Dallas Morning News, which besides explaining the arguments for and against the legislation, delightfully refers to Miller's proposal as "the pork-chopper bill:"

Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, has written the pork-chopper bill, which would allow landowners to lease their property to hunters using helicopters to thin the estimated 2 million feral hogs causing havoc in virtually every county.

Currently, landowners can only rent helicopters and do their own shooting, but this would let them sell the rights and recoup some of their losses, said Miller, speaking before the House Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee.

But lawmakers had concerns that this could turn into a slippery sty and left the bill pending.

Would feral pigs become a game animal, where hunters would have to dispose of the carcasses, abide by a season and other hunting rules, lawmakers wondered? And let's just say chasing a pig at 100 mph doesn't make it easy to stop at a property boundary.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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