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Feral Hog Workshop in Luling Draws Crowd Despite Bad Weather
Despite the wintry weather across the state on Tuesday, February 23, 2010, nearly 300 people attended a feral hog management workshop in Luling. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service coordinated the event, with topics including feral hog biology, current research, and control methods for this invasive exotic species.
The workshop was made possible through a Clean Water Act §319(h) nonpoint source grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board. This workshop was held to implement portions of the Plum Creek Watershed Protection Plan, which is a voluntary and holistic management plan for restoring water quality in this creek as it flows through Caldwell and Hays Counties.
Presenters at the workshop where from state and federal agencies including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, USDA-Texas Wildlife Services, and the Texas Animal Health Commission. Attendees heard informational presentations, observed demonstrations, and participated in a question and answer session.
A grain farmer from Lavaca County stated, “I really enjoyed the trapping demonstrations. I’ve been dealing with feral hogs for a long time, and I found the workshop to be very informative.”
Oscar Fogle, a Caldwell county landowner and member of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Board of Directors, said, “I’ve been to several of these workshops, and I always learn something new. It was really worthwhile.”
Chancey Lewis, Extension Wildlife Assistant assigned to work in the Plum Creek watershed, emphasized, “Landowners in Hays and Caldwell Counties are working together to deal with the growing feral hog problem. Feral hogs have increased substantially throughout the watershed in the last 10 years.” Lewis offers technical assistance to landowners and provides information on feral hog biology, behavior, and available management options.
As feral hogs congregate around water sources to drink and wallow, this concentration of high numbers in small riparian areas poses a threat to water quality. Fecal matter deposited directly in streams by feral hogs contributes bacteria and nutrients, polluting the State’s waterbodies, including Plum Creek. In addition, extensive rooting activities of groups of feral hogs can cause extreme erosion and soil loss. The destructive habits of feral hogs cause an estimated $52 million worth of damage each year in Texas alone.
The Plum Creek Watershed Protection Plan identifies feral hogs as a significant contributor of pollutants to the creek. Landowners recommended in the Plan that efforts to control feral hogs be undertaken to reduce the population, limit the spread of these animals, and minimize their effects on water quality and the surrounding environment. In order to achieve the necessary pollutant load reductions to restore water quality in Plum Creek, the Plan sets a goal of permanently removing at least 36% of the feral hog population from the watershed.
Lewis encourages landowners, residents, and hunters in the Plum Creek watershed to report feral hog damage to crops, pastures, food plots, wildlife feeders, lawns, and landscaping. Individuals observing feral hogs or signs of possible hog damage are asked to make a report online at http://plumcreek.tamu.edu/feralhogs. For those without internet access, reports can be directed to Lewis at 979-393-8517.
AgriLife Extension recently released five new publications about feral hog control methods to help landowners corral this growing menace. These publications were also funded by the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The publications discuss recognizing feral hog sign and several different management tools including corral traps, box traps, and snares and are available online or at either the Caldwell or Hays County Extension offices. These publications specifically target the Plum Creek watershed, but are applicable wherever feral hogs are a problem.
For more information regarding feral hog management efforts in the Plum Creek watershed, visit http://plumcreek.tamu.edu/feralhogs/. For more information on watershed management efforts in Plum Creek and how you can get involved, contact Matt Berg with AgriLife Extension at 979-845-2862.
The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board is the lead agency for planning, implementing, and managing programs and practices for preventing and abating agricultural and silvicultural nonpoint sources of water pollution. The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board also coordinates the programs of the state's 216 soil and water conservation districts and administers the state brush control program.
For more information about Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board programs in the Plum Creek watershed, please contact Pamela Casebolt at 254-773-2250 ext. 247 or pcasebolt [at] tsswcb.state.tx.us.
The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board grants permission for the use of this information as a free service to the news media. Articles may be used either in their entirety or in part, provided that attribution remains. You may print the story and/or post it on the Internet.