Hog hunting has become so much more than just a sport in the state where everything’s bigger. The wild hog population is bigger than anyone could have ever imagined, that’s for sure.
If you don’t live in Texas, you may not be fully aware of the feral hog quandary that has been slowly brewing for decades and has now fully manifested in the Lone Star state. It’s true: many outsiders simply don’t know that Texas is currently being quite literally overrun by an increasing number of wild hogs. It has been said that this breed of animal is simultaneously a blessing and a curse, but the curse is due to the fact that the wild boar population is growing, and doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon. As they say, everything is bigger in Texas. There is just no simple answer to the predicament. While all of us at Nine Bar Ranch more than happy to help with necessary population control, stronger efforts will have to be put forth by more Texans interested in hog hunting if we are to see a substantial decrease in the overall population of wild hogs in TX.
About eighty percent of the Texan landscape is picture perfect for the thriving survival of wild hogs, and for that reason, their population has now skyrocketed to somewhere between 1 and 4 million in Texas alone. It’s challenging to determine a more accurate range due to the fact that the region is simply so saturated with these beasts that they can be hard to count. Approximately fifty percent of the entire United States’ wild hog population calls Texas home, mostly because the Texas landscape is so conducive to their existence.
Wild hogs have the highest reproductive rate of any hoofed animal, which is a leading reason why a reduction in their numbers is so critical. At a mere six months of the age, a hog is able to and ready for breeding. Typically, they carry four to six young per litter, but can have up to twelve, and most healthy females will produce two litters each year. Research has shown that if we do nothing to reduce their population, the Texas hog population will be able to triple in five years!
Wild hogs can practically live just about anywhere in Texas, from the vast, pine forests of eastern Texas to the rough brush of southern Texas. Generally they prefer habitats that provide them with a solid water source such as a creek, river, or drainage area, but they’ve also been found to thrive fairly well in dry climates. Their adaptability to different living conditions adds to the challenge of reducing their numbers.
If a scorching heat wave rolls through Texas (and if you’re from around these parts you know that happens on the regular), the hogs will retreat to a wet, muddy bungalow, usually one with dense shelter that will protect them from the direct sun. Synonymous to most living organisms, they are smart enough to congregate in areas with food availability with a variety of farm crops.
Not only do the beasts have the ability to live in any number of weather conditions and landforms, but they can (and do) consume just about any food. By nature, they are omnivorous, but their diet is primarily based on what foods are available to them. Some examples of the wide variety of their meals include: grasses, roots and tubers, acorns, bulbs, mushrooms, fruits, insects, snails, reptiles, amphibians, animal carcasses, and other birds and mammals if the opportunity presents itself.
Unfortunately, they also really seem to enjoy digging into local agricultural crops like watermelon, cantaloupes, peanuts, soybeans, wheat, rice, and corn, and they’ll eat to their satisfaction. This means they eat until they are stuffed! They will partake in nighttime or daytime feeding (whatever is most convenient for them at the time), and they’re willing to eat in any type of weather, whether it’s scorching hot, cold, or wet. By now, you have probably started to see a trend; they are basically unstoppable, which brings us full circle: hog hunting is absolutely, 100% necessary.
Because feral hogs will eat almost anything, their ecological and economical damage is outrageous. It is estimated that it costs approximately $1.5 million dollars each year to replace damaged crops and install control measures. In addition to eating many farmers’ livelihoods, they damage an exorbitant amount of crops while eating, simply because they are so gigantic and aggressive that they physically trample everything in their path. They also destroy the habitats of many other species as well as the eggs of turkey and quail. Though they are not normally predators, they will feed on fawns and other smaller animals if the right opportunity presents itself.
As a result of the uncontrollable population of feral boars in Texas, there is currently no legal limit set on how many of these wild beasts one individual is permitted to kill. In addition, any method of killing is allowed, except poison. Feral hogs can be hunted just about anywhere and it’s not uncommon for a hunter to ask for hunting privileges on private property, especially because most landowners recognize the overpopulation and are happy to see someone taking action. Want to join in the fight against the Texas takeover? Take a quick trip down to Nine Bar Ranch and test out your skills. Come join us in the fight against the omnipresent wild boars. We need your help!