SHERMAN, TX -- Considered an invasive species in many states, all of those hogs are costing farmers millions of dollars in destroyed crops and damaged equipment.
As many as two million Feral Hogs are on the loose in Texas, and the wild hog population is Oklahoma is booming as well. Considered an invasive species in many states, all of those hogs are costing farmers millions of dollars in destroyed crops and damaged equipment.
Heading out after dark, these hunters are on the prowl for an often allusive prey.
"We make several trips out. Sometimes we see them and sometimes we don't," said Hunter Garrett Patton.
The animal in question, the Feral hog, is quickly becoming a scourge across the country. Wild hogs mean trouble for hunters, because they compete for food with big game animals, but hogs are costing farmers big bucks as well.
"You have a parasite that's out there that is taking money out of their hand sometimes as soon as they get the seed in the ground," said Patton.
Ben Wible, a fourth generation Grayson County farmer, says he has seen the wild pig population explode over the last several years, and like hundreds of other Texoma farmers, it is having an impact on his bottom dollar.
"On my wheat that we are planting today they will root holes in it that will damage equipment they will just tromp down acres of it," said Wible.
The Hogs, which either escaped from farms or were released intentionally have almost no natural predators and can reproduce at an alarming rate.
A sow can have up to 9 piglets at a time, and give berth twice a year. Around half of those piglets are female, who reach sexual maturity just 32 weeks after birth.
If the population goes unchecked hogs have the potential to increase their numbers by more than 1600 percent every 15 months. On top of all that pigs are no dummies.
"The hogs are smart every night we go out if a hog gets away for whatever reason they will be much harder to get the next time," said Hunter Michael Van Sant.
In fact, Feral hogs are so numerous a cottage industry has grown up around the problem. Patton and Van Sant are part of a group of sportsmen that operates the website www.wildhoghunters.com a repository of hog killing know how.
Even armed with high powered assault rifles, the latest night vision scopes and thermal cameras, they say they're no match for the wild hog problem in Texoma.
"It is going to be a full blown epidemic, they just reproduce too fast," said Garrett
"We kill more and more every year, but we are not even making a dent," continues Van Sant.