Sunday, November 06, 2016

Texas is Losing the War on Feral Hogs - video

More than two decades into Texas' ever escalating war against feral hogs, the wild swine continue gaining ground while Texas and the state's native wildlife, plants and ecosystems lose it. Despite taking millions of casualties - an estimated 750,000-plus feral hogs have been killed each of the past few years in Texas - the non-native pigs have continued their economically and environmentally destructive march across the state, with an estimated 2.6 million of them spread across at least 240 of Texas' 254 counties. Described by some wildlife managers as "four-legged fire ants," Texas' population of economically and environmentally destructive feral hogs has exploded to an estimated at 2.6 million and continues expanding despite hunters annuallly taking 750,000 of the swine.  "It's just getting worse and worse; no matter what we've tried, the hogs just overwhelm us," said Stuart Marcus, manger of the 25,000-acre Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. "They certainly are having a negative impact on native wildlife and habitat - directly and indirectly." Texas holds, by some estimates, as many as 10 times the number of feral hogs it did barely three decades ago. "The first year this agency began removing feral hogs was 1982. They took 86 pigs that year," said Michael Bodenchuk, state director of the Texas offices of Wildlife Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture branch designated to address human/wildlife conflicts. "In 2011, we removed 24,746. That pretty much tells you how the problem has grown." And it continues growing. "The estimates I've seen are that between 2006 and 2010, Texas' feral hog population grew about 21 percent a year," Bodenchuk said. And that's with Texans taking an estimated 29 percent of the pig population each year. Texas law designates the non-native feral hogs as unprotected, non-game animals and imposes almost no restrictions on when, how or how many of the hogs can be taken. They can be hunted and killed year-round, day or night; shot from aircraft; trapped in pens; attracted by bait; taken in any number. And Texans have responded to the opportunity. Recreational hunters take an estimated 600,000 feral hogs a year, finding the wild swine a challenging hunting quarry and wonderful on the table. Commercial trappers using live-catch pens annually take and sell to wild game processors another 70,000 or so of the pigs. Another 50,000 or more are killed by Texas Wildlife Services and private firms hired by landowners to knock back pig populations damaging crops or property...more

Here's a video of 'helibacon' hog hunting by helicopter:

No comments: