HOUSTON — A family of feral hogs leaving a path of destruction through a Fort Bend County neighborhood is reigniting statewide outrage over the invasive animals.
Home security cameras captured 25 wild pigs digging up the front yard of Gary Garner’s home in the Sienna community.
It’s the latest in a string of feral hog sightings caught on camera. KHOU 11 News has reported on dangerous and even deadly encounters in recent years.
Why do feral hogs like the Houston area?
Michael Bodenchuk, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said watered yards and golf courses are a beacon for the invasive animals. The animals travel as a sounder, or family, and have been known to be very active through Houston-area neighborhoods at night.
“We see sounders of pigs from six or seven all the way up to 50 or 100 pigs in a group,” Bodenchuk said. “Feral hogs are considered an invasive species in North America. They’re not native wildlife. They were brought here with the Europeans way in the 1600s and have escaped into the wild.”
And as quickly as Texans can trap them and hunt them, the ultra-fertile pigs continue to pop up in neighborhoods from Sugar Land to Spring.
“In the U.S., there are about 6 million feral hogs. About half of them live in Texas. So this is ground central for the feral hog problem,” Bodenchuk said.
He pointed to East Texas watersheds as an attraction for a majority of the hogs in the state.
“The watering of our lawn actually brings the insects up close to the surface, so the hogs are rooting in your lawn to get those grubs and bugs underneath the surface. We create greenspace and golf courses that are perfect environments, and the hogs, not surprisingly, take advantage of that,” Bodenchuk said.
Deadly feral hog attack
In 2019, a woman in Chambers County was attacked and killed by feral hogs.
In November, a woman said her dog was attacked by a wild pig.
Those who are frustrated are choosing electric fencing, but Bodenchuk explained, “those methods are only good if there is someplace else for them to go. So you may have an electric fence around your yard, that means they’re going to dig up your neighbor’s yard.”
He said trapping and humanely euthanizing feral hogs is the best solution. Because where there’s a few, eventually there’s bound to be many.
“And the little ones that you see there will be having their own offspring in less than a year," Bodenchuk said.
Feral hogs are a nuisance in Texas. KHOU 11 News reported on local cities paying companies to come in and trap and kill the wild pigs. In 2019, state lawmakers approved a law that allows Texans to hunt hogs without a license, even on private property. The hunter just needs consent from the landowner.
Earlier this year, the Commissioner for the Texas Department of Agriculture announced Texans could begin purchasing hog birth control called "Hog Stop." It’s one of the latest statewide efforts to help farmers and ranchers regain control of their property from feral hogs.