Texas is home to nearly 2.6 million feral hogs, the largest feral hog population in the United States. Their numbers are continuing to increase because of their high reproductive potential and the lack of natural predators. Feral hogs wreak havoc on property, livestock, crops and pastures across the state and frustrate landowners because of their destructive nature. Landowners have reported extensive damage to crops, fences, roads, ponds, fields and feed loss. Texas AgriLife Extension Service estimates that statewide annual economic damage caused by feral hogs is $500 million. And, unless aggressive control measures are undertaken, the feral hog problem is expected to worsen in the years ahead.
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is administering the Hog Out County Grants Program. The Program is designed to encourage counties across the state to make a concentrated and coordinated effort to reduce the feral hog population and damage caused by these animals during the three-month period of October through December, with the month of October being deemed “Hog Out” Month.
Participating counties will be required to document the following results for the period of Oct. 1-Dec. 31, 2011:
- Number of feral hogs taken in the county, as certified by the county. A feral hog is taken if it is killed during the period of Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, or if it is trapped, snared or captured during this period for purposes of immediate slaughter. Hogs that are trapped, snared, or captured for any other purpose (such as transfer to an approved hunting area) are not considered to have been taken. Transporting a live feral hog to an authorized hunting preserve does not reduce the feral hog population and should not be counted in the county’s certification of the total of feral hogs taken during the activity period.
- Number of individuals participating in county-approved educational courses addressing feral hog abatement technologies. Participating counties will receive one point per participant in attendance at each educational course, as certified by the county.
Based on the criteria above, awards will be made in the form of a grant that the county will be able to use on feral hog abatement related expenditures during the 2012 calendar year. Awards will be made as follows: The highest scoring county will be awarded $20,000; the second highest will be awarded $15,000; the third highest will be awarded $10,000; and the fourth and fifth highest will be awarded $7,500 each. Grant funds will be available for county use on feral hog abatement expenditures during the 2012 calendar year.
Missy Hodgin, Clay County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources and Tyler Garrison, program coordinator, met with County Judge, Kenneth Liggett and county commissioners on Monday, September 26, 2011 for approval of the program. The proposal passed unanimously.
The verification procedure for Clay County will consist of the following:
- Hog buying stations will keep a record of hogs brought in from Clay County.
- Those that are just killing hogs and not trapping and selling them should keep a tally of hogs killed during the three-month period. At the end of the “hog out” period, an affidavit will be available at the Clay County Extension office. Those that killed hogs during that period and want to have their numbers of hogs taken recorded should fill out the affidavit by Jan. 9, 2012.
For further information, contact Missy Hodgin at the Clay County Extension office at (940) 538-5042 or 538-5052.