Hunters to Bring Not-So-Little Piggies to Market

Wild hogs run rampant in Texas, prompting special hunting season

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010  |  Updated 11:29 PM CDT
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Wild Pigs Run Rampant in Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife

A special hunting season is opening to combat feral hogs at Lavon Lake Park.

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Wild Pigs Run Rampant in Texas

A special hunting season will open soon to help combat feral hogs at Lavon Lake Park.
More Photos and Videos

A special hunting season will open soon to help combat feral hogs at Lavon Lake Park.

Wildlife experts estimate there are around 1.5 million wild hogs roaming Texas. They weigh up to 400 pounds, breed like rabbits and have no natural predators. These big pigs are considered a giant nuisance to farms and parks.

“They damage our roads. They eat farmers' crops,” said Heath McLane, who manages Lavon Lake Park for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

But despite the damage they cause, hog hunting in the park is normally limited to bow and arrow.

Now the Corp is opening a special season from February through April, allowing hog hunters to use bait, traps and guns to kill as many wild hogs as they can.

“It's a win-win situation,” McLane said. “It allows us to do a little population control on our feral hogs, and it also allows the hunters to do some things they're not typically allowed to do.”

McLane said it could turn the odds back in the hunters' favor, as opposed to the hogs' favor.

Hundreds of hunters signed up at the park office for a Jan. 19 lottery to be among the 44 hunters permited in the special hog season.

“They're everywhere,” said hunter Travis Strahm as he registered for the lottery recently. “It's getting access to them. You can't hunt them in your back yard, so getting access at Lavon Lake is very convenient, and I’m happy for the opportunity.”

Kevin Ryer operates the Web site Texasboars.com. It sells special lights that help hunters see the nocturnal wild hogs. Ryer has spent years testing the equipment by hunting for hogs himself.

He said wild boar are very intelligent, and they will not be easily tricked by the special hunting tactics.

“As soon as the shooting starts and the trap doors start falling, they’ll learn that immediately, and most of the mature hogs have probably already seen a trap, and when they walk up to one, they’re already going to know what it is,” Ryer said.

McLane said that wildlife experts believe seven out of 10 adult feral hogs would have to be harvested in order to reduce the exploding population in Texas.

But Ryer said he believes the special season is still worth a shot.

“It's better than nothing. Something has to be done,” he said.

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