Feral hogs have become a very prevalent problem here in the United States, but in Texas they are a down-right nuisance. This invasive species goes by many names: wild pigs, feral hogs, razorbacks, and boars. Regardless of what you call them, wild pigs have become a huge issue across the United States, especially in Texas.
They destroy land and crops and threaten the wildlife as they reproduce at alarming rates. But where did they come from? How big is the problem, really? More importantly, what’s being done to solve it? In order to understand the scope of Texas’ wild hog problem, we need to understand a little bit about these animals. Sus Scrofa is the scientific name for the group of animals we know as pigs and they are native to Europe and Asia. Because Texas is not their native home, they are known as an invasive species (like fire ants or killer bees).
Technically, a “feral” pig or hog refers to a domestic animal that has returned to wild after escaping or being set free and “wild” refers to an animal that has never been in captivity. However, because of the complicated history of hogs in North America, the terms can be used interchangeably. The transition from a cute pink piglet to a long-tusked, bristle-haired feral hog can take place in a matter of several months as they adapt to the new environment.
And so the state of Texas has relaxed it’s laws and with a simple hunting license you can go out and kill as many of these pests as you wish. For those who hunt feral hogs for trophy and/or food, a Texas hunting license is required. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) outlines license requirements and specific legal hunting methods in its annual hunting and fishing regulations publication, the Outdoor Annual.
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But, Texas changed the law in 2019 to no longer require a hunting license to hunt feral hogs in the State, even for non-residents, while on private property with landowner authorization. Additionally, no hunting license is required to hunt depredating coyotes on private property with landowner authorization.
Recently, a woman in Texas was tragically killed by hogs outside of her home. Despite this fact, wild hog-related deaths are exceedingly rare. Still, feral hogs are powerful animals that can be extremely aggressive when defending their piglets, or if they feel trapped. In other words, you don’t want to put yourself in a situation where a 500 boar charging right at you, you could be seriously hurt, or even killed.