CEDAR HILL, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Feral hogs seem to have the run of North Texas and in search of nutrient rich grubs, it’s no surprise that they’ve behaving like pigs.
“They chew up the grass, they tear up the landscaping and again, they present a hazard with automobiles,” says Jack McFadden of Cedar Hill. “We’ve had at least the first reported accident of hitting three wild hogs here on Lake Ridge Parkway.”
The crash, says McFadden, is a warning for drivers that the destructive animals aren’t confined to backyards. And with no natural predators, experts say their numbers are exploding throughout North Texas and that means trouble.
“Trinity River runs right through the heart– between South Dallas and North Tarrant County and that’s a hog highway,” explains Adam Henry, a USDA Urban Wildlife
Damage Management Biologist. “We have anywhere from 2-6 million hogs, depending on which expert you talk to, throughout the state of Texas, so we’re not getting rid of hogs, anytime soon.”
So, the next best thing says Henry, is to deny the wild hogs access to the easy meals found in grub filled, overwatered lawns.
“So active grub control on their yards, cutting back the water,” advises Henry. “If we can deny that easy food source, it lets them go somewhere else and find food in another location that’s easier.”
The feral hogs are so despised in Texas, that they can be hunted 24/7 no license required. But. You can’t hunt with a firearm within city limits, so that leaves homeowners with fewer options: many are turning to trapping them, instead.
“We killed one here in our backyard that weighed close to 200 pounds,” says McFadden, who hunts with a bow. “They’re very smart. Once they see one captured, they move on.”
An avid hunter, McFadden has more options than most, but still knows the hogs have the upper hand. So, he’s encouraging motorists to be alert on the roads for a danger most in the city aren’t expecting.
“[We’re] talking about animals that potentially weigh 300 pounds!” says Henry, while adding that the collisions are happening all over the state as the wild hog population explodes.
“You’re talking catastrophic impact. In fact, one of our technicians… he hit one on his way to Abilene in a little bitty Ford Fiesta. Totaled his car.”
Henry says he works with local cities to trap and remove as many of the wild hogs as he can. And he’s encouraging homeowners to put pressure on city leaders to tap into state and federal resources. But the first step, he says, is to make lawns less of a bug buffet.
“If they go to the neighbor’s yard, that’s just the way it’s got to be,” shares Henry with a chuckle, “but I don’t want them in my yard!”