Kingwood communities that are battling feral hogs could be in it for the long haul, experts say.
The huge, fearless cousins of domestic pigs have been roaming through the affluent northern suburb for at least a month, said Keith Crenshaw, urban biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
He’s talked on the phone with residents looking for solutions and has driven by their homes, seeing rooted-up lawns left by the foraging creatures.
Texas has the highest concentration of wild feral hogs in the United States, and in Kingwood, the community with the worst problem is Royal Shores, the area closest to Lake Houston, Crenshaw said.
Feral hogs are highly adaptable and suburban survival isn’t too hard for them, he said.
“If you put a sprinkler system in your front yard and run it regularly, you are creating a hog habitat,” Crenshaw said. “They want to eat grubs and bugs and all the stuff right below the soil surface.”
Hogs on the hunt know what’s there because they can smell it, he said.
“They will root it up and eat everything,” he said. “They have now demolished what a lot of people spend good money on to have a nice-looking yard.”
Boy, if that’s not a good argument for xeriscaping, I don’t know what is.
Trapping the hogs in a box or corral is the most straightforward way to address the problem, Crenshaw said.
It’s up to home owners, or groups, to hire a trapper and then figure out what to do with the hog after it’s caught, he said.
It can’t simply be released on someone else’s land or public land because it could have a disease that can be transmitted to domestic pigs, he said.
The only meat packer in the area that’s certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to process feral hogs is in Porter.
“You have to take it to them live and they have to run tests to make sure it doesn’t have wildlife diseases,” he said. “If they take it, they’re agreeing to have an animal on site for a month.”
That’s the Steve Radack solution to the problem. Not a bad idea, if the logistics can be worked out. As for me, I’m just glad I live in one of the few parts of the state these beasts haven’t taken over. Surrounding yourself with highways seems to be the only effective deterrent against them.