There is a new tool in the fight against feral hogs in the state.
Wild hogs cause millions of dollars damage every year in the state, and landowners already try everything from trapping to shooting the hogs from helicopters to try to get rid of them.
Now added to the array of tools is a new hog management app created by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service that pulls together all of the extension service’s information on feral hogs into one place.
For years, the extension service has published information, created videos and had workshops to teach people about feral hogs, said Jim Cathey, associate department head and program leader with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Extension Unit.
Now, thanks to a Renewable Resources Extension Act grant, the extension service has put all that information into any smartphone user’s hand.
“What we’ve been able to do is package the information in a different way so that folks can make use of it easily on their smart phone,” Cathey said.
The app, which costs 99 cents and is available on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, has articles and videos on topics such as recognizing feral hog signs, hog baits, strategic shooting, trapping and even on the use of helicopters to hunt hogs.
If a landowner was curious on how to trap hogs, he could pull up the app and watch a video on how to build a corral trap, Cathey said.
“I want to make information access easy for people so they can get rid of feral hogs,” he said.
The feral hog problem is a serious one and it is not limited to rural areas.
Feral hogs do about $52 million worth of agricultural damage in Texas alone on an annual basis, Cathey said. Nationwide that number increases to about $1 billion.
Those cost estimates do not even include the damage hogs can do in suburban areas, he said.
“They are not just the rural problem that people think they are,” said Charriss York, a local Texas AgriLife Extension Service program specialist.
Hogs are pushing into suburban areas and often can be found in neighborhoods that are near pipeline rights of way and other open areas, she said.
“At night, they’ll go out looking for food and they’ll find a flower bed and dig it up and eat all the roots out of it,” York said.
They are also a water quality issue for waterways that already have heavy bacteria loads.
“(Feral hogs are) a public health concern on multiple levels,” she said.