Feral Hogs

A feral hog
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Feral hogs attacked and killed a woman outside a Texas home about 40 miles east of Houston, authorities said Monday.

USDA NRCS Texas/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Wild boars, feral swine – many call them feral hogs. But as lots of Texans know, they’re the source of much angst and misery. Feral hogs cause property loss of more than $1.5 billion nationwide, about a quarter of which is in Texas. And that may be a conservative estimate. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is stepping in with what it hopes is a solution.

Texas has a pig problem.

Wild hogs have overrun the state so rapidly that in 2011, Texas allowed them to be hunted all year round. The feral hog epidemic even spawned a reality show called Aporkalypse Now, following Ted Nugent as he shoots hogs from a helicopter.

flickr.com/agrilifetoday

Update: Oct. 31, 5:36 a.m.: The Central Texas toll road with the nation's highest speed limit will get signs warning drivers about wildlife. The move comes after at least three incidents of vehicles hitting animals in the first few days of the new 85 mph zone.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, the private company that runs the 41-mile portion of State Highway 130 says temporary electronic message boards will be used until permanent signs can be installed.

Original Story: Oct. 26, 1:57 p.m.: A new section of State Highway 130 opened Wednesday. It runs from Mustang Ridge to Seguin and allows drivers to go 85 mph. But the same night the highway opened, there were a handful of crashes involving local wildlife.

Photo courtesy US Fish and Wildlife

Hardeman County Wins "Hog Out Challenge"

Photo by KUT News.

House to Consider Key Budget Bills 

  The Texas Legislative session ends in less than two weeks and state lawmakers still haven’t reached complete agreement over the state’s budget for the next two years. Today, the House will take up two so-called “fiscal matters” bills. These bills delay payments and find non-tax revenue to help fill the state’s multi-billion dollar budget gap. One measure would delay a $2 billion state payment to schools.  

Photo by Dave Govoni (Va bene!) http://www.flickr.com/photos/dgovoni/

Farmers are already allowed to fire up a helicopter and gun down feral hogs tearing up their property. But a bill is now headed to the Governor's desk that will allow property owners to rent out seats in helicopters to anyone willing to pay for the privilege of hunting wild pork from the sky.