Feral Hog Information
Why is feral hog control needed?
Feral hogs are distributed throughout much of Texas, and reports indicate that populations are beginning to expand and increase. There is currently an estimated population in excess of 1.5 million feral hogs in Texas.
A survey conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service placed annual damage to agriculture in TX alone at $52 million with an additional $7 million spent by landowners to attempt to control the pigs and/or correct the damage. This is indeed a very conservative estimate. Other researchers suggest that damage per pig per year averages $200– but the problem there is that the assumption is made that a 40 pound pig causes as much damage as a 300 pound pig, which is unlikely.
Feral hog reproduction
Feral hogs are capable of breeding at six months of age, and gestation is around 115 days with an average litter size of four to six, but under good conditions may have ten to twelve young. Under ideal conditions sows are capable of producing two litters per year, which equals up to 24 babies per year from one sow.
What do feral hogs eat?
Feral hogs are very opportunistic feeders and much of their diet is based on seasonal availability. Foods include grasses, forbs, roots and tubers, browse, mast (acorns), fruits, bulbs and mushrooms. Animal matter includes invertebrates (insects, snails, earthworms, etc.), reptiles, amphibians, and carrion (dead animals), as well as live mammals and birds if given the opportunity. Feral hogs are especially fond of agricultural crops such as corn, milo, rice, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, potatoes, watermelons and cantaloupe. Feral hogs feed primarily at night and during twilight hours, but will also feed during daylight in cold or wet weather.
Do feral hogs carry disease?
In general, diseases from wild hogs do not pose a significant threat to humans; however, some diseases can be transmitted to livestock and wildlife. It is important to keep all livestock vaccinated, especially where large feral hog populations are concentrated.