We receive a lot of mail from people saying that we are cruel for killing feral pigs. This is usually from people who do not know the full story or from people who form an opinion based on emotion instead of facts. Consider these facts before you make up your mind.
1. Feral hogs are an alien species to the U.S. They have very few natural predators, and they breed at alarming rates.
2. Feral hogs kill and eat fawns, young livestock, small mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. If you insist on leaving the wild hogs alone, then wouldn't you be killing cute little fawns and all of those other animals by proxy? Remember, we are talking about an invasive species that is not supposed to be here in the wild. The animals that feral hogs kill would not otherwise die at that point.
3. Wild hogs compete with and steal food, land, and other resources from native animals that are supposed to be here. To let them get out of control is essentially signing the death warrant for many of those animals. Remember, we are not talking about letting nature run it's normal course. Wild hogs are not supposed to be here.
Add on to that hundreds of millions in crop damage, erosion, habitat destruction, and countless damage to property, and you should begin to see that feral pigs have no business in the U.S.
What to do?
Relocation: This has been done, but in most cases all you are doing is to transferring the problem somewhere else. Not a realistic solution considering that in Texas alone there are several million feral pigs.
Trapping: This is a fine way to catch feral pigs. However, with relocation out of the question, killing them is the only reasonable option once you trap them.
Hunting: This obviously reduces the numbers and can help alleviate landowners problems. Using dogs to hunt the feral pigs is the best way to reduce their numbers quickly.
Poisoning: Not exactly the most humane way to get rid of the feral hogs and may kill other animals.
Sterilizing: Some have suggested to catch the feral pigs and sterilize them. As ridiculous as that is I will go ahead and address it. If ranchers, hunters, recreational trappers, professional trappers, farmers, and many others are trapping and shooting the pigs as fast as possible, and it is not keeping up with the reproduction rate, then what makes people think that trapping them and sterilizing them (instead of killing them) would be any more effective. This method would actually be far less effective because all of the feral hogs trapped would be set free again. No reduction in numbers would happen directly from trapping. Besides, I can bet you don't want to be the one to reach into a trap and castrate a 300 lb boar.
Oral Contraceptives: This must be added to the food supply of the wild pigs and would be ingested by native species as well. It must be administered during the ovulation cycle of the sow and is not long lasting. The impact on native wildlife would be similar to using poisons to control feral hogs.
I have seen first hand the complete chaos feral hogs can bring to a ranch or even a subdivision. If you haven't experienced the wrath of feral hogs, then you might be prematurely forming an opinion. Some people will instantly go from vegetarian to savage cavemen after having their entire yard bulldozed by a herd in one night. However, it is not just about money. Many fear going to their car or outside for a walk in the evening. Some are held at bay in their house for hours because a herd of 30 feasting feral pigs will not leave their front yard. Most people that hire us are looking to save native animal populations and want the destruction of their property to stop.
So what's your solution? Remember, doing nothing will get native animals killed and many others starved because of lack of resources. Relocation is absolutely out of the question because any place that would sustain feral hogs will also sustain native wildlife that would be killed or starved out. Poisoning is a poor way to die and can kill other animals. Sterilizing them is a joke. Using oral contraceptives would cause native wildlife to have reproduction problems as well.
So that leaves killing them as the only realistic solution. It may sound harsh to you, but when you are honest with yourself you will see that it is better for our environment and native wildlife to eliminate feral pigs the most efficient way possible. You must step out your "dream world" and face these facts head on. You cannot stick your head in the sand and say that everything will be alright if we just leave the feral pigs alone. If you do, native wildlife will die, and our fragile ecosystem will be greatly disrupted.
The states are spending millions on inflated bureaucracies doing little to solve the real problem. If given a financial incentive, there are many of hunters that would go out of their way to kill hogs. It cost money in gas, ammo, maintenance and equipment to eliminate them. Van Zandt county in Texas offered a 7.00 bounty for each wild pig eliminated. This resulted in the direct removal of over 2000 hogs in the county at a cost of only 14,000 dollars.
The state of Texas gave a 500,000 dollar grant to Texas AgriLife Extension Service to help study and remove feral pigs in Texas. They were indirectly responsible for the removal of only 3000 wild hogs across the entire state. That is a cost of 166.00 per hog indirectly removed. You must also add in the cost to the landowner for trapping equipment, gas, ammo, etc. On the following contract they received a 1 million dollar grant to do the same thing. I don't know about you, but I would prefer to see my tax dollars being spent at seven dollars per hog rather than 166.00 per hog.
The wild hog problem would be best handled at a county or local level. Every area and wild pig is different, and there is no one size fits all to hog removal. There is over a million licensed hunters in the state of Texas. Use them as a resource to reduce the wild hog populations. If governments were to be involved in the wild hog problem, they could offer a bounty and/or help connect hunters/trappers and landowners.
Red tape and regulations will do nothing but discourage hog hunters and make the wild hog problem worse.