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New Bill Allows Killing of Feral Hogs Without a License

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In an interview from February 2019, Texas Senator Bryan Hughes of Mineola said that the existing law for the killing of feral hogs could be read to mean that there is a requirement of proof that they’re causing damage prior to killing them. However, a new bill—Senate Bill 317—which he has authored, states that they can be killed whether there has been damage or not, and a license won’t be required. The bill has since been approved by both houses and will move on to the desk of the governor for final review and signing into law.

Designed to give more freedom to those battling problems with the feral hog population in Texas, SB 317 received approval at the Texas Senate level on Tuesday, May 14, 2019. The state of Texas is presently home to one of the largest populations of feral hogs in America. There are an estimated 2-3 million of them in the Lone Star State. The majority of these appear to live in East Texas. They’re known for causing millions in damage to farm and ranch land and disrupting the natural patterns of native species. The state legislature has previously attempted to address the issue with legislation that allowed the hunting of feral hogs via hot air balloons and even helicopters. There have also been laws passed that would allow a landowner to kill them, as noted above, which appeared to be a bit ambiguous in its interpretation.

New Bill Allows Killing of Feral Hogs Without a License

Photo: flickr.com

Pending the signature of the governor, this new bill will go into effect on September 1, 2019, and would allow a hog to be killed at any time, without a hunting license, whether they’re destroying property at that time or not. The writing of SB 317 was in hopes that this provision would empower Texas landowners to take further steps to protect their property from damage in advance. The difference between this and the current legislation is that under present law, it’s illegal for the same landowner to kill a hog which was simply present or crossing his property, unless the rancher or farmer was in possession of a valid hunting license.