There are a few things we have an abundance of here in Texas. Some we cherish like barbecue, land, football and big trucks. Other stuff, like heat, fire ants and feral hogs, we don’t. We do what we can to cope as best as possible, like complain about the heat, spray for fire ants and shoot the snot out of some pigs. Nothing is more of a nuisance than our destructive feral pig population. We have the largest population in the United States. There are an estimated 2.5 million pesky porkers here. Experts from Texas A&M University say that 79% of the Lone Star State is active stomping ground for savage swine. And that’s bad news….
Domesticated hogs were introduced into Texas 300 years ago. Through release and escape, the population of feral hogs has continued to grow since then, with it becoming a serious problem for landowners in Texas in the mid-1980s. Besides their incredibly destructive nature, pigs are intelligent, reproduce quickly and have no natural predators, so controlling their population is critical.
Feral hogs eat anything—including other pigs. They can root down as far as three feet and ruin entire field of crops literally overnight. Their aggressive feeding takes food away from wildlife, game and livestock. They disturb and damage wetlands, springs, creeks, trees and other vegetation allowing for invasive species to grow. They carry diseases easily passed on to livestock. It isn’t just a rural problem, either. Feral hogs have started to invade urban and suburban areas, as well, destroying parks, sports fields, golf courses and other natural spaces. The invasiveness of the problem costs our great state over $400 million a year in damages.
The National Wildlife Control Operators Association and National Pest Management Association says, “(Feral hogs) can’t be frightened away. They can’t be repelled. No toxic agents are available. Their population can double in as little as four months. They will be with us for a long time.”
Fortunately, Texas hog hunting laws are relaxed, and we can try our hardest to eradicate the pesky buggers.
Feral hogs are classified as an exotic species and therefore aren’t subject to the tighter hunting regulations for game and bird. In Texas, you can hunt feral hogs all year long, day or night and there is no bag limit; in fact, in some cases, you don’t even need a hunting license.
You can shoot hogs in Texas on private property without a license for depredation purposes. This means you can shoot feral pigs responsible for destruction of property, land, livestock or your livelihood. The law states, “A resident landowner or the landowner’s agent or lessee may take feral hogs causing depredation on the resident landowner’s land without having acquired a hunting license.” To hunt pigs without a license, make sure you are with or have the landowner’s expressive permission and do not take any dead hogs with you.
You must have a hunting license if you use traps or snares or are hunting for trophy or food. However, you may walk a very thin line, as it can be loosely interpreted by your local game warden. To be safe, it is highly suggested that you acquire a Texas hunting license—especially if you live in whitetail deer country or have a feeder on property.
In Texas, we can even control feral hog populations “with aerial gunning” by permit only. Shooting hogs from helicopters? Count us in!
Texas does not provide much opportunity to hunt on public lands. Most hog hunts in Texas are done on private property. However, there is still one million acres allotted to public hunting. We have “walk-up” and draw hunting on public lands. For this, you will need a valid hunting license and a permit.
Don’t fret if you aren’t able to take advantage of public land hunting in Texas, plenty of outfitters specialize in hog hunts for all budgets. Going with an outfitter or private ranch gives you the opportunity to hunt with equipment you might otherwise don’t have access to, such as digital night vision devices, high-end ARs and thermal riflescopes.
In Texas, it is 100% legal to hunt hogs at night with a spotlight, night vision, thermal and suppressors. Hunting hogs is a great way for us to remain skilled, keep meat in the freezer and spend time in the field during the off-season—not to mention doing our part to control the population of this devastatingly destructive animal.
Do you hog hunt? Share your favorite hunting story with other hog hunters in the comment section below.
Click here to obtain your hunting license.
Follow Pulsar on social media