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Desperate Hill Country Landowners Turn to Feral Hog Hunters for Relief

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The feral hog has long been known as a terror for ranch and farm owners throughout Texas, and more specifically, the Hill Country. They tear up property, wreaking havoc as they dig around for sustenance, costing landowners thousands of dollars in damage. That’s why the ability to hunt them, trap them, or otherwise remove them as an invasive pest has become a lifeline for many. One such landowner, Andy Smith of Llano County, recently contacted Chris Sawyer, a trapper in the Texas Hill Country known as “The Hog Man.” In the Highland Lakes area, sharpshooters like Tyler Bost (who is a butcher by trade) also help to control the feral hog population, resulting in options that many Texans weren’t previously aware they had.

At this point in time, there are estimated to be between 1.5 million and 2.6 million feral hogs causing damage to land and crops in Texas. This results in approximately $52 million annually in costs to landowners, according to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. As a result of a new state law that took effect on September 1, 2019, hog hunters are no longer required to have a license to hunt feral hogs on private land, provided they have the permission of the landowner. In the meantime, those who hunt these wild hogs on public property still require a license.

Desperate Hill Country Landowners Turn to Feral Hog Hunters for Relief

Photo: Wikimedia

Feral hogs were first introduced to our continent approximately three centuries ago as domestic animals. However, those that escaped and those set free for the purpose of hunting soon bred in great numbers. Their species also proved quite resilient and consumes practically anything. Sawyer recently told dailytrib.com in an interview, “They’ll eat each other if one dies. Bost noted to dailytrib.com that, “It’s got to be one of the toughest animals in the world. It’s crazy how tough they are,” pointing to the naturally thick skin (approximately two inches worth) this animal has to protect itself. Never mind the sharp teeth it’s known to possess! According to both gentlemen, integral to removing the feral hogs is the old adage of being in the right place at the right time. Patience is also a virtue. “If they don’t show up, you can’t give up,” Bost explained to dailytrib. “More than likely, they’ll come through. They’re habitual creatures.” Thankfully people in lines of work such as this are available for others to reach out to for help. Feral hogs have become a bane to the Texas landowner, and any means with which to legally and effectively combat them are a blessing.