Bounty Program Looks to Help Control Texas’ Feral Hog Problem
For thousands of years, wild and domestic animals have been sold as food. Because this “bounty” works so well, stopping market hunting is the first thing we do to protect the wild species.
Human civilization was made possible in large part by free-ranging, foraging pigs that converted natural feed and human scraps into food which humans could eat. Before refrigeration free-ranging pigs were walking larders.
Wild-ranging domestic pigs would be valuable assets for landowners if we went back to the rules that applied until 30 years ago, which allowed them to be sold into the commercial food chain. Imagine getting $100 – $300 apiece and creating an additional annual revenue stream for the ranch while helping control their population.
The “Green New Dealers” say that we must give up meat to save the planet. They are not wrong about the environmental damage of the meat factories. Meanwhile however, there is enough free-ranging Texas pork to feed much of the country and these animals when properly managed improve the environment. Free-range pork carries less disease than pork produced in our filthy, environmentally disastrous and inhumane meat factories. Treating these free-ranging domestic animals as vermin by placing a “bounty” to destroy Nature’s bounty is just another of the amazing perversities of wildlife “management” and food “safety” regulations which favor the big companies at the expense of the public, farmers and ranchers, wildlife, and habitat.
A rollover accident on SH 130 near Manor that left a semi-truck driver injured was caused by feral hogs, officials said Friday.
40 gallons of gas needed to be cleaned after the early Thursday morning crash. Authorities said the driver slowed down when they noticed the hogs on the road, but they still got in his way and he swerved to avoid them causing the truck to roll over.
Hogs causing accidents on Texas highways, especially SH 130, is nothing new.
“When the toll road first opened up, it was a hog blood bath out there,” said Nick Dornak.
Dornak is the director of watershed services at Texas State University in San Marcos. Since 2012, he’s been working with Caldwell County on a bounty program to encourage landowners and hunters to help stop the spread of the state’s pig problem.
“It works basically, $5 per pig,” he said.
As long as a Caldwell County residents can prove they live in the county and show either a tail from a feral hog or the pig itself, the hunter can earn the money.
Some hunters, like the folks at Veracity Aviation, shoot and kill pigs from helicopters throughout Central Texas.
Dornak said even though they’ve killed more than 13,000 hogs since the start of the bounty program five or so years ago, it’s still not enough.
“One female can become 200 pigs in about two years,” said Dornak.
In addition to hogs damaging millions of dollars in crops and property every year, they’ve been known to be the source of spreading E. coli in Hill County waterways by defecating.
Dornake hopes counties throughout Central Texas adopt bounty programs or other ways to keep hogs from disrupting life because rural areas aren’t the only place they can be found.
“We’ve been seeing a lot more impacts in suburban areas,” said Dornak.
The first bounty claim for feral hogs is scheduled for Monday, March 4th in Caldwell County.