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Baits for feral hogs still on drawing board

East Texas Ag News
East Texas Ag News(KTRE)
Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 3:21 PM CDT
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ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - When you start talking to folks about feral hogs, it seems there’s no end to the stories about the damage they cause, the cost they incur to landowners, and the difficulty of getting rid of them.

One of the biggest hopes that many agriculturalists have had for years is the development and legalization of a toxin that can be put out to control hogs. Four years ago, during a Texas legislative session, Kaput was legalized for a short time. Kaput was a feral hog bait that contained the active ingredient warfarin. Many will recognize warfarin as the blood thinning medication that also acts as the active ingredient for mouse and rat baits.

Since warfarin was already legal for small mammals, the plan was that it could be simply used to reach a larger mammal, specifically, our feral hog. As this new product was being rolled out, it was soon stopped and is currently not available.

As our recent legislative session has approved funds for more research and study into the control of feral hogs, the question of a legalized bait has regained attention.

It is a valid question why we don’t have one on the market. Surely, one would think, there would be something to kill a hog. The fact is, there are toxins out there that can certainly do the trick, but the real concern is the collateral damage. Just imagine cattleman losing their cattle or any other stockman losing horses or goats or whatever because they ingested some of the bait intended for wild pigs.

Even in our part of the world where we could put a bait out in the woods where no livestock are present, imagine the problems that would arise if wildlife where to get ahold of it. The loss of white-tailed deer, small mammals, your neighbors’ dogs, and even birds of prey that feed on dead carcasses of those affected would be a terrible, terrible problem.

Make no mistake, it is this non-target species and secondary poisoning that is keeping the baits in the research phase. The delivery device, or devices, that would be used to keep the toxin available to only hogs has also been under a great deal of scrutiny. How can we guarantee that nothing else will get into the “feeder” that is meant to deliver the bait to the hogs?

Let us say that we can find device that only allows wild pigs to eat, and it delivers a lethal punch to those hogs. What then becomes the carcasses? Our natural world is full of animals that can that feed extensively on carrion. How do we ensure that the next animal in the food chain won’t be affected?

With a lack of an approved toxicant and delivery device, controlling feral hogs is still a major issue. Perhaps even with an approved toxicant, we would still have such a huge population of wild pigs to control that landowners would need to work on this problem with several methods.

To assist landowners, the Angelina County Extension office is holding a Feral Hog Control Seminar this Monday evening, Oct 18. The featured speaker is Dr. Jamie Sugg, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources serving Rusk County.

Sugg has been heavily involved in trapping and conducting field research on feral hogs. He’ll talk about trapping as well as the toxicants that are being studied and are promised to be on the market someday.

The program will start at 6:00 pm Monday evening, Oct 18 at the Angelina County Extension Office located at 2201 S. Medford Dr, Lufkin, Texas.

Cost is $20 and those attending need to RSVP for the meal count. Supper will be pulled pork sandwiches cooked by the Hudson FFA BBQ team. This program is sponsored by the Lufkin branch of the Heritage Land Bank.

One CEU will be given to those with a pesticide license.

To RSVP or for more information about this event, call (936) 634-6414 x 0.

Cary Sims is the County Extension Agent for agriculture and natural resources for Angelina County. His email address is cw-sims@tamu.edu

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