Professional trapper discusses East Texas’ feral hog problem

You may not see them every day in East Texas, but we often see their aftermath: feral hogs.
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 4:05 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2023 at 7:02 PM CST
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - You may not see them every day in East Texas, but we often see their aftermath: feral hogs.

Landowners in Wood and Upshur counties are still plagued by the pesky nomads.

“This time of year the acorns are sour and gone away, things haven’t sprung up that much, so there’s a lot of rooting by feral hogs going on this time of year,” says professional trapper Byron South.

“In broad daylight I saw about 15 wild hogs, a few of them mama sows. They each had about 10-or-12 babies with them,” says Wood County pig raiser Tanner Spurlock.

The hogs are not only destructive, but a night time road hazard, as well.

“A danger to vehicles not only because of their size, but their low center of gravity. They’re like hitting a bowling ball,” says Upshur County resident Mitch Niles.

Game wardens tell us they take two to four calls on feral hog destruction every week. And that’s not all they do.

“They will act as a predator sometimes. I’ve seen them kill fawns and anything that nests on the ground,” South says.

Doing more than $400,000,000 of damage a year in Texas, a single herd can overturn a whole hay-field overnight.

“For hay-fields, for cattlemen out here, pig destruction does a lot on your hay growth for cows,” Spurlock says.

In spite of government efforts, the population seems to continue growing, and for good reason.

“The gestation period is just under four months. And they can have anywhere between 8 and 16 piglets in one litter,” Tanner says.

“They’re an invasive species, so they’ve got to be dealt with,” says South.

As of 2019, biologists estimate there are over 2.5 million feral hogs in Texas.

Trapping, open season hunting, and even birth control baits have been used, but there’s been no significant decrease in numbers.