Feral Hog Plague

One thing that happens when you get a group of country people hanging around without a lot going on involves a mysterious sorting and filtering process.  Small groups of strangers with similar interests are drawn into intense exchanges of arcane esoterica.

Saturday a few old guys including me got talking about chickens, coons, skunks and feral hogs none of us would have ever learned if we hadn’t been to the auction.

The wild hogs seem to be concentrated, we found, in some locations and absent in others.  A guy from a few miles east of town seems to have the worst problem of any in the group, and despite the fact he’s killed a hundred hogs this year he says it hasn’t made a dent in the population. 

He’s devised an ingenious trap with several interior rooms the hogs can get into but can’t get out, allowing him to capture a dozen at a time.  He kills them in the traps and drags them down to a remote corner of the property with the previous hauls.

That guy knew some hog catching tricks I’ll probably use here next time they come in here or up and Gale’s tearing things up.  He uses boxes of Jello as bait.  Says they can’t resist it and they’ll choose going into a trap after Jello over breaking into a feed bin or tearing the walls off a storage shed for chicken feed.

But everyone agreed the hog population in Central Texas is out of control something awful.

Then, this morning, my old bud Rich sent me a link to this Yahoo News story:

Mexico to cull 50,000 wild boars from US invasion


Mexican officials have unveiled plans to slaughter some 50,000 wild boars that have crossed the border from the United States and now threaten agriculture in Mexico.

The Ministry of Environment in Chihauha state said some 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) of farmland in the border town of Ojinaga have been affected by the large number of feral pigs that have come from Presidio County, Texas.

“We must get rid of these European wild boars because they sleep overnight on US soil during the day and cross over to the Mexican side to feed,” Ignacio Legarreta, a state official, told local media.

The boars of European origin, which were imported to Texas as pets and then replicated in the wild, have caused serious damage to the flora and fauna of the area, officials said.

“They have reproduced to reach more than 50,000 animals that threaten the area,” said Legarreta.

The authorities intend to use cages with food inside to trap the animals.

But back at the auction.  I asked whether any of them had ever tried bringing the hogs in and selling them at auction.  None had, and at first everyone’s reaction was a guffaw.  Nobody likes getting close to a critter capable of ripping you in two and eating you.  Probably the auction folks wouldn’t take them despite the fact they handle a lot of dangerous animals.

But then someone mentioned there’s a place in Ingram always advertising they want to buy swine on the hoof.  Sausage place, one thought.  Which got us thinking how a person might build a trap on a trailer so’s to not have to deal with them more than dragging the trailer to Ingram, letting them inspect them and kill them in the trap, drag them out, weigh them, and pay up.

I allowed if I’d considered that and thought of it earlier this year I’d be a lot better off financially today than I am.  There was a lot of muttering and thinking going on among all of us before the conversation changed to coons.

Old Jules

19 responses to “Feral Hog Plague

  1. He didn’t make a “dent”. I like the idea here Jules as these animals are not going away. You do different things with the different types of pigs. I bet a 50lb youngster of either sex even tastes pretty damn good. This is a huge issue and not only there.These pigs are a money maker all the way around.

  2. Hi One Fly: Thanks for coming by and offering your thoughts. I figure you’re probably right about the 50 pounders of either sex. Boars much older than that wouldn’t offer much use than as rendering plant material, but sows of any size would probably be indistinguishable from home-grown swine when they’re used for sausage. I think you’re correct in thinking there might be money in it. Gracias, Jules

  3. My experience with them has been that the meat is as good as raised hogs, BUT not as much fat content. Way different from javelin which don’t have hardly any fat content at all. There used to be ranchers that would host hogs shoots, just to get rid of them.
    But they can be real mean and are not to be fooled with , shoot them with a BFG and get it over with.
    The traps would probable work for awhile till they figured it out.. But hell,try it!!

    • Hi Ben. Thanks for coming by sharing your experience. I’m figuring next time I’m in Kerrville I’ll search out the Ingram place and talk to them about it, find out whether they’d be interested. No point going further than that until a person knows whether there’s a market for them. We’ve had favorable results on this place using a trap, running out of hogs before they got trap-wise. Neither Gale, nor I, have seen any for a while since the last batch descended on us. Yep, they’re mean as the dickens. An old sow kept me bottled up in the cabin until morning one night after I’d shot one of her pigs through the windowscreen breaking into the chicken pen.

      Turned out she and the rest of the litter were eating the shot pig carcass. They left in time for me to let the chickens out. Gracias, Jules

  4. All that and they tend to be a lot more intelligent than your average dog. Meanness on the hoof — er, trotter.

    • Hi Ed. Thanks for the visit. They’re definitely intelligent critters. When I was a kid we had a duroc that was bad about getting out roaming. My step-dad added a board to increase the height of our fence to keep him in. The duroc figured out how to get over it, so he put up another board and the duroc went over it. Ad infinitum until the fence was six feet high and we never did manage to keep the duroc penned.

      I’d hate to have to try to out-think a pig that had been to college. Gracias, Jules

  5. Well I’m hooked. GREAT post Old. I’ll be back.

  6. Thank you Dia. Old Jules

  7. If anyone could get the FDA and Cattlemen in agreement, there could be a market for hog within a month – lot of good meat going to waste. The processors could ramp up to handle the load.

    • Texasjune: FDA’s probably a part of it, but USDA might be a piece, also. Evidently the beasties have to be ‘inspected’ before they’re killed, whatever that might mean. Shame, the waste. Gracias, Jules

  8. Maybe we could buy dog food with real meat in it, instead of all corn and soy.

  9. Almost anything used as a free food source, eventually fails. Eat ’em!

  10. Glad to have stumbled upon your blog Old Jules, and it’s a pleasure to “meet” you. I agree with the dog food suggestion–I am transitioning to self-sufficiency and trying to make my own dog food. Free dead hogs would be just the ticket, and if I lived close by, I’d say send ’em over! I’ve got big dogs and they eat A LOT! ha.

    Has anyone ever tried to raise and tame the babies? Can they be re-domesticated? Seems like their foraging abilities would be a favorable trait.

    • Hi ejalvey: I’m not even sure anyone’s ever tried to raise and tame human babies, nor whether they can be re-domesticated. If a person wanted to own hogs you might be onto a way he could come by some. Gracias, Jules

  11. Lol. Well, Jules, IMO, human babies are SO domesticated they’ve lost all sense and possibility of surviving in the wild altogether…for the most part.

    If you are inclined to mail me some wild piglets, I’d be happy to see what could be done with them. The younger the better, I suppose.

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