High Plains Journal — Brought over on ships by Spanish explorers as traveling food sources, feral hogs have slowly built up their numbers over the years. Feral hog populations have reportedly been established in 35 states, but sighted in 48. Read more to learn about the complexities of feral hog population management and damage control where the potential for dedicated resources and funding is steadily growing.
Wild pig control outreach and education
Wild pigs are one of the greatest invasive species problems in the United States. They impact water quality, agricultural crops and livestock, wildlife populations and their habitats, and more recently, suburban landscapes. Nationwide, the population is estimated at about 4 million animals — with 2.6 million in Texas alone.
Wild pig crop damages and control costs are reported to be greater than $1.5 billion across the nation and conservatively $52 million in Texas, annually. In areas where wild pig populations are concentrated or in and near streams, where they spend a significant portion of their time, they contribute bacteria and nutrients to water bodies. These populations can substantially impact water quality by eroding banks, increasing sediment loads and algae blooms, and causing oxygen depletions.
Through presentations, publications, smartphone applications, social media content and videos, we are helping the public understand how these animals live, as well as improving the reduction measures used by landowners to control this pest. Our work has helped many stakeholders actively involved in implementing water resource management and protection programs in their watersheds. Providing education to landowners about effective removal and management strategies is crucial to successfully reducing wild pig populations and improving the water quality of Texas streams.
Dr. Jim Cathey is an associate director for the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute. Jim is a regional and national expert in wildlife management, Extension outreach and programming, feral hog management and conservatio…
Josh Helcel is a project coordinator with the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI). He specializes in educational programming and providing technical assistance to landowners and others seeking to control expanding…
Wild pigs negatively impact water quality: Implications for land and watershed management
Josh Helcel, Forrest Cobb, Dr. James Cathey
SP-472: Feral Hog Population Growth, Density and Harvest in Texas
J. Timmons, B. Higginbotham, R. Lopez, J. Cathey, J. Mellish, J. Griffin, A. Sumrall, K. Skow
Feral hogs have been seen clashing with people near suburban hubs across the greater Houston area on social media and in the news this year. The wild pigs have been seen chasing teenagers in Atascocita, on ranches and farms in Liberty County and chastising home owners in The Woodlands.
USDA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today it is awarding more than $1.4 million to fund three pilot projects to control feral swine in Texas.
While Louisiana has a stout wild pig population, and Missouri presumably has a relatively small population, Texas wears a painful crown at the top of the porcine heap in the U.S., as home to roughly 3 million wild pigs. The Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI) places the control rate to maintain wild pig populations at 66%. In stripped-down parlance: Texas needs to remove approximately 2 million wild pigs per year to keep 3 million wild pigs on the landscape...
Houston Chronicle — If you have noticed more feral hogs in your Houston-area neighborhood recently, you are not alone. Neighbors across the Greater Houston report the wild animals are more frequently making their way into their subdivisions and streets, leaving properties destroyed in their wake.
Read how NRI's wild pig team expertise is traveling around the world to support local land managers without language barriers.
AgriLife Today publishes new article on NRI's first-of-its-kind wild pig reporting tool.
Tyler Paper: With 79 percent of the state considered potential habitat wild pigs have become a costly problem in both rural and urban areas of Texas. Texas A&M’s Natural Resources Institute has created a website to help better map the problem.
National Hog Farmer: Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute has released a new online tool to help in the growing effort to control the feral hog population in the state. The wild pig website offers Texas landowners and homeowners an easy-to-use tool to report sightings of feral hogs and the damage that may have occurred from them.
KETR: The Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute is making it easier to report wild hog sightings in the state. The NRI has a new webpage where Texas residents can provide details of how many hogs they saw, where they saw them, and what kind of damage the animals cause – such as crop or fence damage, wallowing, or rubbing.
KLTV: A new online tool from the Texas A&M National Resource Institute may aide in the growing effort to control the feral hog population in East Texas. They say it will help them locate areas of high activity as well as manage the growing population in the state.
This edition discusses aerial gunning as a tool for wild pig control as well as available options for Texas landowners and wildlife managers. Also addressed is research related to various baiting and head gate options for trapping wild pigs.
Thanks to Texas Farm Bureau's Gary Joiner and team for helping share the news on the Texas Wildlife Radio Show about the new reporting tool for Texans with NRI's Dr. Jim Cathey. Listen to learn more about what our wildlife and state researchers are working on to understand the scope and size of the wild pig problem in Texas.
KXVA Fox15 in Abilene talked with Josh Helcel about new traps used to combat the millions of wild pig negatively impacting Texas.
NRI Associate Josh Helcel was recently interviewed about the severe feral hog problem in the state of Texas.
Texas is home to the largest feral hog population in the United States, with an estimated 4 million hogs statewide. The Houston Chronicle shares local land owners' difficulty with wild pigs and resources from Texas A&M AgriLife.
Read up on associate director Jim Cathey's insight for The Eagle on College Station's feral hog residents—some of Texas' most formidable foes have taken their destructive tendencies to the College Station Memorial Cemetery and Aggie Field of Honor.
Join the Bastrop County SWCD in McDade, Texas for their annual Field Tour to learn about wild hog management practices. Speakers will discuss the effects hogs have on the landscape, different trapping systems, and the rules and regulations for controlling populations on your property.
In this sixth issue, landowners will learn about wild pigs and mast crops, view the best of the wild pig photo and video contest, read about the origin of the wild pig species and get a peek at trending articles and videos.
In this fifth issue, landowners will learn about county-based cooperative wild pig abatement, see an evaluation of contraceptive viability in wild pigs and view trending articles and videos.
In this fourth issue, landowners will learn about wild pig control concerns, about considerations for hunting with dogs and get a peek at trending articles and videos.
In this third issue, landowners will learn about white-tailed deer management with considerations for wild pig control, read about considerations for the ethical harvest of wild pigs and get a peek at trending articles and videos.
In this second issue, landowners will get to see an urban wild pig video series, learn about the seasonal spotlight, emerging technology and innovation in wild pig management and hear about upcoming programs.
In this first issue, land stewards will meet the Wild Pig team, read the seasonal spotlight, learn about new Wild Pig continuing education courses and landowner cooperatives, hear about upcoming programs and much more...
Recent reports from popular articles and Canadian news outlets have made sensational claims about wild swine (Sus scrofa), suggesting that a new breed of “super pigs” is expanding their range to the United States. Accounts generally allege that this new breed, weighing ~600 lbs, now exists through natural selection within existing wild pig populations or hybridization between feral swine and Eurasian boar. Are these accounts accurate, or is the media exaggerating a small number of reports? Without concrete scientific date, we can only examine the legitimacy of a new, larger breed of ‘super pig’ by stepping through some questions and scenarios:
Landowners in Hardeman, Wichita, Clay, Wilbarger, Milam, Williamson and Nueces counties interested in participating in a wild pig workshop and training can join us for free this fall to learn more about effective management practices and to become familiar with smart trapping techniques.
When it comes to wildlife research, our foundational methods for capturing data and learning don’t change very often—the key is in how we study what we’ve learned and how we remain stewards of discovery together.
The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) is working with the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Texas Wildlife Damage Management Association (TWDMA), Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI), and four local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) to help address the issues that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems, and the health of humans and animals.
New video: Have you ever wondered why wild pigs leave rub markings on trees, poles, posts and other surfaces? Learn the three most common reasons why we find these rubs in various places, what they mean and how this behavior impacts vegetation and structures.
Abatement efforts to reduce the negative impacts associated with wild pigs remain essential to the conservation of natural resources and native wildlife. Learn more about the impact of wild pigs on ground-nesting birds in our latest short video.
One means of understanding wild pig biology and behavior is turning to their not-so-distant relatives, the Eurasian boar. Read more to see how we examine the differences between North American feral swine and Eurasian boar research focused on the activity patterns and behavioral modifications of these animals in response to both human control efforts and environmental influences.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced it is awarding approximately $1.5 million to the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) to fund three additional pilot projects to control feral swine in Texas.
The use of toxicants for the management of wild pig populations is another potential tool to reduce damage and prevent populations from growing and spreading. Research is ongoing to answer critical questions regarding efficacy and humaneness as well as any potential environmental impacts prior to the use of toxicants, like sodium nitrite, on wild pigs in Texas.
No hunting license? No problem…at least when it comes to wild pigs.
NRI’s wild pig reporting web-page, developed by the institute’s data analytics team, provides a unique portal for data to be reported not only in Texas, but anywhere wild pigs are observed.
Maintaining the natural beauty of Long Acres Ranch is an ever-evolving task, and as many land and natural resource managers would say, an immersive experience.
Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) have gained quite a reputation for being aggressive towards humans and companion animals. A quick Google or YouTube search can easily lead one to believe these animals routinely grow to enormous sizes and will readily attack and eat humans or pets when given an opportunity. The truth about human and wild pig interactions, however, is not nearly that sensational. This article will explore research conducted on human-wild pig interactions, and will attempt to separate the facts from the substantial lore surrounding this topic.
Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are a growing concern across the country, and, unfortunately, Texas seems to have the largest population over other states. Landowners, producers and others concerned with minimizing damages associated with this exotic species often look to emerging technologies to reduce wild pig numbers.
NRI's Josh Helcel and the wild pig team spoke with Susan Culp with the Texas Animal Health Commission to answer a few questions about the safety of bringing home the bacon. Click read more to watch the video.
Nearly 160 years ago Charles Darwin published his “On the Origin of Species,” a work that would become the cornerstone of evolutionary biology. The book's 502 pages outlined the scientific theory of natural selection and species diversity through evolution across successive generations. If you’ve ever wondered where wild pigs (Sus scrofa) came from, why there are so many different names for them and how man has influenced nearly everything about them, well then what follows may be worth your minutes.
Wild pigs are considered opportunistic omnivores – meaning they will consume both plant and animal food sources available to them throughout the year. The vast majority of a wild pigs diet consists of plant materials, and an important, seasonal food source for wild pigs are mast crops (acorns, fruits or beans). Common mast producing species in Texas include oaks, hickories, honey mesquite, prickly pear cactus and persimmon. This article will highlight the research that has been conducted on wild pig competition with native wildlife for mast, the effects mast has on wild pig population trends and how wild pigs’ consumption of mast can influence forest composition.
Countywide wild pig abatement programs have been implemented across Texas for decades. Many of these programs are based on some type of bounty system, usually pertaining to a one- to three-month period when landowners bring physical evidence verifying animal harvest to a central location in exchange for money.
The continued expansion of wild pig populations in the Lone Star State has many Texans again questioning the viability of wild pig contraception as a means of control.