Feral Hogs Impair Texas’ Watersheds

Hogs are not native to Texas. In fact, they are not even native to the United States. As such, all hogs found in Texas are the results of either escaped and released domestic hogs. These domestic hogs gone wild are referred to as “feral.” Although they can be fun to hunt, feral hogs cause large amounts of damage, particularly to Texas’ watersheds.

The latest research shows that this exotic non-native mammal causes somewhere around $52 million worth of agricultural damage on an annual basis in Texas. This includes farming and ranching damages. Additionally, it is believed that feral hogs negatively influence water quality in almost every watershed throughout the state.

Due to their large numbers, wide distribution, and behavior, feral hogs can increase levels of sediment, nutrients, and bacteria in streams and lakes. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service is cooperating specifically with the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership to address this growing issue by providing information and assistance to watershed landowners to reduce feral hog activity. But what can be done that has not been done already? After all, once you get feral hogs you always have feral hogs. Hog hunting will not do it alone.

The Watershed Protection Plan demands for the reduction of feral hogs within the basin. Wherever feral hogs are found, they leave good sign of their presence. Identifying the sign can help landowners recognize where hogs are traveling on their lands and apply the appropriate management response to reduce their numbers.

Hog hunting and trapping can be used to reduce and management hog populations. Hog trapping is not effective at totally eliminating feral hog populations, but it can be a means to greatly reducing hog populations and environmental damage to the landscape and the watershed.

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