Feral hogs are a Texas-sized problem for Hays County residents

Feral hogs are a big problem in Texas. The USDA estimates they cause about $52M in damage each year. One family in Hays County says the problem is getting worse.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that feral hogs cause about $52 million of damage a year. Many residents in the Hays County communities of Lime Kiln and Hillard believe the problem is getting only getting worse.

Resident Sundae Thomas said every day at dusk, the hogs start showing up on her property, usually traveling in packs and tearing up all ten acres of her land.

"They ruin our yard by trampling and digging up the dirt," Thomas said. "It's not attractive to have huge holes in the ground. Within the last week or two, they've been coming up extremely close to the house"

Thomas said she believes the feral hogs are moving closer to her home because they're looking for food and especially water, which has been scarce lately with no recent rain. They tore up her pipes to get it.

"It does scare me a little bit for the kids to be playing outside," Thomas said. "I don't know how aggressive they can be towards us."

She said with some of the feral hogs doubling her son in size she doesn't want to find out, which is why her husband has been hunting them.

"It's just us trying to prevent that and avoid that," Thomas said.

The USDA estimates there are now around 2.6 million feral hogs in Texas. That number is only expected to grow because the animals have no natural predators and are capable of having three litters of up to a dozen piglets a year.

It is legal to hunt the animals, even by helicopter, and beginning Sept. 1 it will also be legal to hunt them from hot air balloons. 

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