Home Hunting The Prolific Feral Hog

The Prolific Feral Hog


by Jeff Lobaugh “Texas Hogfather”

  As history reports claim, explorers LaSalle, Cortes, and Desoto brought the domestic hog here in the late 1600’s, around 1680 or so. These hogs were a food source and cared for by them until hard times hit and they were allowed to roam freely.

Now, fast forward to the 1930’s when the Denman stocking effort along the Texas Gulf Coast introduced the Eurasian or Russian boar to the mix. That does not include the hogs brought into Florida by other explorers in the 1500’s.  Rumor has it that Christopher Columbus even played a roll in the introduction of wild hogs to North America.

With this brief history lesson, that leads us to the feral hog issue we currently have. Some reports claim there are over 2.6 million wild hogs roaming the state of Texas. I would have to believe that number to be double, if not almost three times that!

All one has to do is drive around the farms and ranches, or even some major local roadways to see the number of wild hogs that occupy the state. These wild hogs are responsible for over $2.5 billion in damage to crops, ranch land, and golf courses each year. They not only destroy those areas but they also damage city parks, soccer fields, and private lawns. 

Texas has wild hogs documented in 253 of the 254 counties. That is a lot of hogs in a huge amount of area!  At least 35 states have feral hogs. I suspect that the number will increase as the number of suspected wild hog releases increases due to the potential for them to generate income. That is a lot of hogs running around tearing up things with no natural enemies.

The numbers game with wild hogs is astronomic to say the least. Their breeding habits put rabbits to shame! A sow has two litters a year, let’s say eight in the litter and four of those are sows. Those four reach a year of age and they are breeding as well as ol’ mom who is now about to have her third litter.  Wait! Did I mention the sow’s second litter? We will come back to them in another eight months or so when they are breeding. They have the multiplication down without a doubt. The wild hog is an omnivore, which makes them opportunistic feeders, which is why they are seen from hay fields to the lush green lawns of homes. They each consume up to 5% of their body weight daily. They can plow up a yard in one night looking for sweet grubs after they have dined on some roots from the neighbors yard. They will eat anything from grubs to corn to donuts. They don’t care. They are PIGs! But they are just like you and I. They want something sweet after dinner.

Have you ever seen a watering hole where hogs waller in it? This is due to the fact they do not perspire. They do this to cool down as well as get some mud on them to keep the bugs off. Then they go back to tearing the place up. They are pigs and they don’t care. They want food and they will get it one way or another.

Wild hogs in Texas are such a vastly different subject from the origins, to where we are today. Farmers and ranchers want them eliminated. Hunters want them for sport and food, and homeowners want them to stay out of the yard and the flowerbeds! There is a lot to explore here and we hope to do so with more articles. I want to try to spread the word that even as bad as these hogs are, there is some good that comes from them.  

I have to tell you all, wild hogs get me excited as much as fishing! I have been trapping and hunting wild hogs all over the state and it really gets the blood pumping. It is kind of like fishing, you have to get out there to see what you are going to catch or harvest. I can’t wait to get into some of the stories from the years of being in the field chasing these wild hogs. Along the way we will get into the aspect of hunting them verses trapping them. Both have their place and there is so much technology today that makes both successful in the War On Wild Hogs! I can’t wait for those articles. 

To be honest, I was a little hesitant to do this article since there are so many views on feral hogs and how to manage them. It is not always the management side that is needed to be talked about. I can’t wait to see where this ends up. From 25 plus years of hunting them and trapping them there is a lot to cover as well as some good stories to share, might even find a good recipe or two to share as well. Y’all stand by and tune in next issue for chapter two. Same time, same place, Life & Land Magazine.

‘Til next time, Happy Hunting!

Previous articleHeroes Ranch – Freedom Isn’t Free
Next articleStar of Texas: The Cavender Family