More than 100 attendees heard the latest on feral hogmanagement at a workshop held recently at the Brazos Expo Complex in Bryan.
The day-long program featured a number of experts from Texas A&M AgriLife discussing feral hog biology, associated agricultural regulations, their effect on water quality, plus trap design and laws and regulations.
“One of the biggest challenges producers are facing is damages from feral hogs, whether it’s agricultural, urban or water quality,” said Mark Tyson, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service wildlife specialist, College Station. “What we are trying to do is present a multiple-facet program so folks can hear a wide range of professionals from the feral hog realm take away useful tools and reduce damages from feral hogs.”
Tyson said there were an estimated 2.6 million feral hogs in 2010, and “projecting out, it is estimated to eclipse 5 million.”
Feral hogs cause at least $52 million in agricultural losses each year, according to AgriLife Extension data.
There is a variety of traps to choose from: a box trap, a corral-design trap or other configuration. But getting the entire herd, including the female as well as a litter of feral hogs, called a “sounder,” can be troublesome with just a box trap, Tyson said.
“We recommend corral traps to capture the entire sounder, but there are other strategic techniques such as box traps, snares, shooting and trained dogs,” Tyson said.
“Feral hogs continue to be a primary issue in terms of damage to pasture and rangeland for landowners across Texas and here in the Brazos Valley,” said Dusty Tittle, AgriLife Extension agent for Brazos County. “This workshop covered a wide variety of issues pertaining to the feral hog, and judging by attendance, there were a lot of landowners wanting to learn more about how to better manage this problem.”
The program was sponsored by AgriLife Extension and a Clean Water Act nonpoint source grant from the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.