Bounty program looks to help control Texas' feral hog problem

Bounty program looks to help control Texas' feral hog problem

Author: Jordan Bontke

Published: February 15th, 2019

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.

Check out the full story and video from CBS Austin. 

© 2019 CBS Austin

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