LEAGUE CITY

Dozier and Big Momma showed up in Robert Gonzalez’s yard for the first time about a month ago.

In 12 years living on Acacia Court in League City, Gonzalez had seen deer and coyotes and even a bobcat, but that was the first time feral hogs had visited.

They haven’t been very courteous visitors.

Weeks of nighttime visits by the pigs and their five piglets have left the yard looking like someone went wild with a rototiller. The pigs come out of the nearby woods to hunt for grubs and other food.

Gonzalez doesn’t know exactly where they came from, or where they go during the day, and he’s worried that more are on their way, he said.

“The problem is, I’ve been told that these things can breed three times a year and each time they have a litter of four to six,” he said.

Gonzalez has a guess that the pigs were displaced from another territory by Hurricane Harvey or some other recent storm.

Whatever the case, it’s a new and growing problem for him, and apparently for other local people as well.

Long the bane of landowners in rural parts of Texas, feral hogs lately have become such a noticeable problem locally that Galveston County is attempting to come up with a solution.

County commissioners Monday approved a request from the parks department to apply for a grant from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service to help create a hog abatement program.

If the $20,000 grant is approved, the county would create the “Galveston County Hog Call line,” a hotline for people to report pig sightings, said Julie Diaz, director of parks and cultural services.

The county would map the sightings using a computer program, and, once a general location was identified, hire a contractor to head out and, as Diaz put it, “nicely get rid of” the animals.

The program would operate throughout the county, she said.

“For us, we knew we had an issue in Jack Brooks Park, but we wanted to do more within the county,” she said “We asked where else can we help the constituents.”

Wild hogs have lived in local woods for years, Diaz said.

There is a significant population of them in Jack Brooks Park in Hitchcock, she said. The pigs tend to root around trees, tearing up the grass in the park, which can interrupt regular groundskeeping and require extensive maintenance to repair the damage.

They can also be aggressive toward people. In December 2017, a Galveston Sheriff’s Deputy shot a hog after it charged and struck him in the leg. The deputy was OK.

No one has been attacked at the park, but parks staff members have been instructed to keep their distance, Diaz said.

The pig problem has been a big problem in Texas for a while. The state has run a grant program for hog abatement since 2008. The county has never applied for the money before, however.

The Texas Legislature in recent years approved laws allowing feral hog hunting of all sorts, including from helicopters and hot air balloons, in effort to reduce the herds.

In League City, Gonzalez said he too had tried shooting at the animals that were ruining his yard — but only with a BB gun. Big Momma, who he estimated weighs about 250 pounds, took a few steps away, then turned around to look at him, he said.

“I said ‘I think I’d better go back inside,’” he said.

He plans to build a fence around his backyard that will keep the hogs out, but it will also cost a few thousand dollars, he said. Then he can think about fixing his yard.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.

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(7) comments

George Croix

Expert shooters.
Proper rifle.
Suppressor.
Proper ammo.
Proper sighting device.
Elevated location for down angle.
Patience.
Bang.
Messy cleaning job.
Ham for the hungry.................

One option with zero recidivism.....

Steve Fouga

Traps also work well -- for a couple of times. Then they figure it out.

Robert Waggoner

George, are you advocating using a firearm in the city limits? Use a suppressor so neighbors don't here. Who will be cleaning up the potential neighbor that was hit by a stray bullet. Why not advocate getting the right authority do the job. I am a hunter but not in town. Traps/snares or any other measure should be used in the city, not firearms. There is too much at stake when the bullet leaves the barrel and not everyone may be as proficient as you may be with a firearm.

George Croix

I didn't say me, Robert, or any other person except, as I wrote, an expert shooter. A 'right authority'. There's ZERO in that post saying turn the deer hunters loose to kill hogs.
Just being a hunter does not make anyone a really proficient shot.
One can go to the TC range and see that.
With proven, verifiable expertise, you don't have any 'stray bullets'....You have a controlled round fired under controlled conditions, including, as I said, from an elevated location (read, platform) to shoot DOWN from. Unless someone is living in a bunker underground, the only danger there is to moles and grub worms.
Yes, I am advocating that, with the provisions mentioned.
I expected to get the exact thing I got.
Note that a suppressor does NOT necessarily mean you don't hear a shot - depends on the suppressor itself and the round fired - it's just less noise than without one.
Yes, traps and snares can work. It could be somewhat of a challenge getting a 300 pound hog trap into a residential back yard, and the snares work just as well for Fido and Little Joey.....
Either of which getting hurt is, imo, a far greater likelihood than a trained shot shooting down at an angle of less than 45 deg. into the hog that is standing on/tearing up the soil.
But, it'll never happen, precisely because of too many worrying that the cure is worse than the disease, and because I've already, no doubt, caused got a dozen personal injury lawyers to go out buying card tables and sidewalk room just in case such a workable, easy, and more productive than trapping plan were to be established and implemented......
As always, imo......
Thanks for replying.
Opposing viewpoints are what these forums are here for......only the reporting and Editorial Staffs are monolithic.....[beam][beam][beam][beam]

George Croix

This being Texas, land of the anti-snowflakes, I HOPE enough parents have enough sense to know, and teach their kids, that these hogs are DANGEROUS!!!!
Destruction of yards is not the only thing they'll cheerfully destruct, given the opportunity.
You MUST NOT attempt to approach them unless you know what the heck you are doing, and are armed. God forbid that any child find a piglet and manage to get hold of it (unlikely, but unlikely is not the same as impossible...) as momma is likely close by. Anyone who tells you that wild hogs always run away when humans approach has not spent enough time around wild hogs. They USUALLY run away, in my personal experience, but then we USUALLY can drive without getting in a wreck.
The big wild hogs, and even some big domestic hogs, IF they can get an animal, or a child, or YOU, down on the ground, will do their very best to EAT you.
Some with tusks may well try to rip you up, and I've even seen large hogs use their front hooves to crush/cut up a downed animal.
Think not?
Think again.......
This is not Porky and Petunia out for a stroll with the family.
PLEASE do not chance it unless you know what the heck you're doing, and please tell the kiddies about the potential for danger.
That old saw about better safe than sorry was never more applicable......

Susan Smith

4 to 6? Try 8 to 12 per litter. Study from years ago states you have to eliminate 80% of the herd to keep them from increasing their population. It has been a losing battle for a long time.

George Croix

Part of the problem is so much of Texas is privately owned land/leases, and of those a great many are timber company leases, like ours is, and they are not particularly fond of ANY nighttime hunting, for anything.
Ours recently relented and will allow it with some minor safety related restrictions, but only after so many of the lease's trails and firebreaks were torn all to heck .... that, and the fact that the deer population has waned the last few years, and we've seen a lot fewer fawns....
Unlikely just a coincidence....

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