Feral hogs are an invasive species. They destroy our agriculture and economy. We’ve all heard this and most outdoorsmen have seen the damage they do firsthand.

Hogs were brought in almost 300 years ago by Spanish settlers as an important source of meat. Then in the 1930’s, European hogs, or Russian boars, were brought into Texas by for sport hunting. These began escaping and breeding with the feral hog population. Texas Parks and Wildlife says there are virtually no true Russian boars remaining anymore.

It’s estimated there are more than 2.6 million feral hogs in Texas. The estimated U.S. population of nine million feral pigs causes billions of dollars in property damage every year in the United States. With improved habitats, disease eradication and high reproduction rates, the population continues to grow out of control.

Is the problem actually bad and can it be fixed?

Hogs compete directly with our livestock and wildlife for food. Game animals are directly affected because of the aggressive resource competition. It’s almost becoming not even a competition. Hogs are so aggressive with food sources, deer will leave an area and basically get the scraps of food left behind. Because they are omnivores, their feeding behavior destroys the entire food chain. One of the biggest problems is the indirect damage of agriculture caused by rooting for food and trampling the ground. They can damage acres of land in a couple of days. They also carry disease, that while not usually harmful to humans, it can be transmitted to our wildlife and livestock.

Options to control the population of feral hogs include trapping, recreational hunting and aggressive helicopter hunting. It is virtually impossible to completely eradicate them. They reproduce as early as six months and can have multiple litters per year. And with hardly any predators, their numbers are multiplying quicker than they can be controlled. Hunters must try to kill as many as possible and most states allow for aggressive removal. Harvesting 66% of the total population per year is required to keep the Texas feral pig populations stable. As of today, poisoning hogs in Texas is on hold.

This is not realistic and an uphill battle at best.

The bottom line is that it’s our job, as nature enthusiasts and conservationists, to try our best to keep our land and wildlife safe from feral hogs.