Not only do wild pigs wreak havoc on pastures, fields and golf courses, they contaminate our water sources and destroy native species. They can also spread disease to both man and beast.
Wild pigs cause widespread damage to agricultural lands by destroying crops, the depredation of livestock, and competing with wildlife for resources.
Wild pigs are smarter than dolphins?
They may not appear to be the Einstein’s of the animal world, but they are in fact smarter than many species we hold in high regard. Some experts argue that dolphins, killer whales and elephants all have lower IQs than wild pigs. Pigs are widely considered among the brightest of species — and they do beat out man’s best friend in the brains department.
Texas has an estimated 3 million wild pigs
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and this includes our pig population. The U.S. is estimated to have 4 million wild pigs. Current population models predict our actual figure is now closer to 3 million. Wild pigs are also largely nocturnal, which means you are more likely to see the damage they do than see the animals themselves.
You do not need a license to hunt wild pigs in Texas
On May 31, Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 317 into law. This permit allows any landowner, landowner’s agent or lessee to take wild pigs without a hunting license. The only time a hunting license is required is on Texas public lands. Unfortunately, recreational hunting alone cannot control the wild pig problem.
Pigs are pretty much everywhere
Over 79% of Texas is deemed a suitable habitat for wild pigs, according to NRI. Wild pigs can now be found everywhere, from farms to the lands surrounding suburban shopping malls. Sows, females, can roam a territory of around 2 miles, or 1,100 acres. If your neighbor or a neighboring county has wild pigs, odds are it is just a question of time until you do too.
We’d need to eliminate 66% of the population, each year, just to break even
Experts agree that given current technology, complete eradication of wild pigs in Texas isn’t realistic right now. It doesn’t help that pigs are the most prolific large mammal when it comes to reproduction. A sow can average 1.5 litters a year and each litter typically produces five to six piglets. Even given mortality rates, we’d need to eliminate 66% of our wild pig population annually just to stop our population numbers from growing.
They learn to avoid traps quickly
As we mentioned earlier, pigs are smart. If you set a trap that only captures one or two animals at a time, odds are pretty good you won’t catch any other wild pig. You need to have a trap large enough for the entire sounder, or group, or you’ll be looking for alternative means to capture the pigs from the sounder that got away.
Lonnie Jenschke is an Erath County extension agent.