Hogs run wild through Grayson County

By: Josh Stevenson Email
By: Josh Stevenson Email

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.

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  • by Anonymous on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:04 AM
    Actually, they CAN NOT be hunted without a license... TPWD, as well as the Oklahoma wildlife department DO require hunters to have a hunting license, even for ferral hogs. Just called the TPWD yesterday to verify this because we are planning a hog hunt in Texas next month.
  • by JC Location: TX on Nov 28, 2011 at 06:49 AM
    1. So, can we hunt/kill them at will? 2. If license is required, what is the law on killing them on your own property? Two years ago, my husband saw one at the edge of our backyard (behind that is 20 acres, not including the farmer's land to the north, south and west of ours). He said it looked like it weight 400 pounds easily. My daughters play outside riding their bikes & whatever else... they aren't allowed to go back there or into the fenced property - but what's to stop them from coming into the yard?
  • by TXHARLEY99 Location: EL PASO TEXAS on Nov 25, 2011 at 04:51 PM
    I do must of my hunting in New Mexico and Colorado. They can be hunted without a license. Regardless of the millions of dollars of damage the hogs are doing in Texas, people are trying to make a lot of money to allow you to hunt. I just wonder if the money they make equals out to the costs of the damage. Money made is outweighting money lost due to greed.
  • by Joey Location: Denison on Nov 25, 2011 at 02:09 PM
    Are there any restrictions on killing these hogs? The story seems to suggest there isn't. With all the sportsmen in this area this could present a great opportunity for them to hone their hunting skills.
  • by Dan Location: Rowlett on Nov 25, 2011 at 10:40 AM
    "Even armed with high powered assault rifles..." The press has been corrected regarding the misuse of this term so many times now I'm forced to conclude that those who continue to do so are either mentally defective or are just pathological liars.
  • by Michael VanSant Location: Sherman on Nov 25, 2011 at 08:48 AM
    Mary - I wouldn't worry about hogs attacking your truck, I've never heard of that happening. The biggest threat is you running over them because as you've seen they can cause significant damage to a vehicle. It's rare that hogs will attack at all out in the wild, it's cornered or trapped hogs that are the most dangerous. If you need help getting rid of a hog you killed just contact us through our website and we'd help you get rid of it, just don't let it rot for two or three days before you get in touch with us. www.wildhoghunters.com
  • by Peta on Nov 25, 2011 at 08:31 AM
    I think the hogs should file a lawsuit for persecution. They have rights to! What a cruel group as hogs have every right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!..Vote Liberal!
  • by ADOLF on Nov 25, 2011 at 06:49 AM
    Open season, pay per kill, employ the unemployed to hunt, feed the poor. Bar-B-Que pig out.
  • by Danac Location: Texoma on Nov 24, 2011 at 11:40 PM
    Hogs gone wild .. I smell a reality show.. lol
  • by hogzilla Location: Woods of Fannin County on Nov 24, 2011 at 07:24 PM
    I have witnessed the explosion in population of hogs as well over the past ten years. There is really no way to control the population. I've read that just to keep the population at a manageable rate, 75% of the population would need to be harvested every year. They're like rabbits with tusks. I just don't see a solution to the problem. But that doesn't mean I won't be personally trying to thin them out. It adversely affects all of the native species. They are very opportunistic when it comes to eating, and there is very little that they won't eat.
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