Feral hogs cause extensive damage in farm
and ranch country
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
KAUFMAN–What the drought didn’t wipe out on local farms and
ranches, wild hogs are finishing up.
Farmers and ranchers in North Texas are experiencing an influx
of one of nature’s most formidable eating machines.
Kaufman County Precinct 4 commissioner Tom Manning, who also
runs a cattle spread north of Mabank, presented a report at
commissioner court March 12, listing the damage and the
seriousness of the problem.
In a private interview on March 26, a frustrated Manning
reviewed the problems inflicted on his own property and that of
“It’s not just the damage to the land, it’s the hay crops and
forage. They completely destroy,” he said, adding the loss can
be totaled in the thousands of dollars.
“Heavy damage was reported in the Kemp, Mabank, Peeltown,
Prairieville and smaller communities nearby,” Manning said.
“Lawns and greens are not left out of the mix, either. They have
done a tremendous amount of damage at Indian Oaks Golf Course in
the Peeltown area,” he explained.
Another big problem concerns the levees on the Trinity River,
especially near Combine.
“When we inspected the levees, we found extreme damage. A heavy
rain will bring on erosion that will cost a lot to repair and
this doesn’t count the many thousands of dollars lost in grazing
and hay production,” Manning explained.
“When it gets to the point where they get into the cities and
tear up people’s lawns and flower beds, then maybe the problem
will be taken more seriously,” he said.
In the general area that includes and surrounds Precinct 4, he
said he and fellow hunters killed 247 of the destructive
“The average sow (female) weighs around 250 pounds or even more
and they are not the least bit intimidated by dogs or even
people,” he said, adding, “they have absolutely no natural
The wild pigs are very aggressive when defending a litter of
piglets or even just when searching for food.
“Some of them, including the sows, have cutters (tusks or teeth
sticking out) as much as three and a half to four inches long,”
Manning described. “And they can really cut up a dog or even a
person,” he added.
The beast is very prolific. The county AgriLife Extension agent
explained that one sow can have two or three litters of six to
eight piglets in a year.
Those babies are ready at six months to have litters of their
“Almost everyday, when I step next door to the sandwich shop for
lunch, there will be hands from the local ranches having their
lunch and talking about the number of hogs they’ve seen just
that day,” he said.
“There are numerous reports of 25 to 30 pigs spotted each day on
the land where the hands work,” Manning explained.
As the weather heats up, the hogs do their wandering and rooting
at night and then just lay around wherever they can find shade.
Traveling in groups or herds, the whole family can cover a
couple of miles in half a day, Manning explained.
“The majority of my precinct is rural, but there have also been
reports of hogs, and the subsequent heavy damage they have done,
in Precincts 3 and 1,” Manning said.
Manning is endeavoring to increase the awareness of the need to
eliminate the hogs. He also referred to the state program
encouraging counties to join in on getting rid of “Texas’ Most
Wanted Pest”, according to Agricultural Commissioner Todd
The 2011 statewide Hog Out Challenge resulted in the removal of
12,632 hogs and netted five counties a share in $60,000.
The number one winner, Hardeman County, collected $20,000.
The other four winners were Clay, Lavaca, Callahan and Goliad.
The 2011 Hog Out challenge was extended three months, adding
Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, to the challenge calendar.
Again, Manning said the problem is serious and should not be
ignored by property owners.
“This is something that people need to report to Ralph Davis
(Texas AgriLife Extension office - (972) 932-9069; the County
sheriff’s office (972) 932-4337, or call me (903) 498-2013 -
ext. 2). I’ll get a hold of somebody who can help.”
Manning said he is determined to eradicate the wild hogs.
“My thing is to use every resource available to end this
infestation,” he said.
The Texas AgriLife Extension service information listed the
following information on the feral hog problem in Texas.
• Feral hogs cause an estimated $500 million in damages
annually, including $52 million in agricultural damages.
• There are an estimated 2.6 million feral hogs in texas.
• Feral hogs are predators of lambs, kid goats, baby calves,
newborn fawns and ground nesting birds. They also compete for
food and space with many native species of wildlife.
• Feral hogs commonly destroy urban yards, parks and golf
courses, as well as rangeland.