Rancher gets ‘hog wild’ with roaming swine
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Exotic by definition, but damaging by nature—there are two-and-half million hungry hogs running wild across the Lone Star State.
At one time domesticated, feral hogs have been roaming the range since the 1500s. It's estimated the invasive swine cost Texans $52 million annually in agricultural damage, or $7,500 per landowner.
The state’s Agricultural Department offers a "Hog Out" bounty program to help reduce these numbers, but with Bastrop not participating, 73 year-old Smithville resident Michael Johnson is left to bring home the bacon himself.
"They root for minerals. They root. They roots for grass," he said.
The hogs are such a pain that Johnson and his friends have cooked up a plan. They’ve set up traps to stop the pounding of the pigs in their area.
"The first night we caught three,” Johnson said. “The next night we caught seven. Then we caught four, and last night we caught two."
Although it’s hard to really put a cap on the hounding hogs—they have three litters a year, according to Johnson.
Last year, Caldwell and Hays Counties participated in the states "Hog Out" program.
The Agriculture Department pays two bucks per pig tail. In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 716, allowing the hunting of hogs from helicopters.