State offers counties feral hog eradication funds - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

State offers counties feral hog eradication funds

The Texas Department of Agriculture is offering funding to individual counties to come up with their own plans of attack against feral hogs. The Texas feral hog population continues to explode.

"They just keep multiplying and keep coming back," says Gregg county rancher Bob Griffin.

"We have over two and a half million and I think that's an extremely conservative number. They destroy everything from inner city to crops and pasture land; extremely destructive animals," says Gregg County ag-agent Hugh Soape.

Some landowners have gone to extremes putting electrified fences in to deter hogs.

"They are a nuisance; they carry diseases and they can even get in the water system," says Upshur county homeowner Rose Jobe.

The Texas Department of Agriculture is now offering the County Hog Abatement Matching Program, or CHAMP, up to $30,000 for counties to eradicate hogs with. What's different about this plan is that it gives the individual counties the freedom to combat the problem in any way they see fit.

"The best that's been done is to control animals in a small area, but as a whole, the population is still growing in the state of Texas. They can use grant money to hire a contractor to trap, which is the most efficient way to trap a whole herd," Soape says.

Counties can partner with each other with a dollar-for-dollar match for grant money.

"I have the most rural of the precincts and certainly feral hogs have a presence there, and we would love to look into that. We'd love to take the initiative ourselves," says Gregg County Commissioner Precinct 3 Gary Boyd.

There are an estimated 2.6 million feral hogs in Texas, causing a half billion dollars in damage statewide each year.

"All the help we can get, we need," Griffin says.

Counties must apply for the feral hog funding by July first.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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