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Hogs in the city

Too close, y’all. Too close.

If you have noticed more feral hogs in your Houston-area neighborhood recently, you are not alone. Neighbors across the Greater Houston report the wild animals are more frequently making their way into their subdivisions and streets, leaving properties destroyed in their wake.

The Houston area is not unfamiliar with the battle between feral hogs and residents; last year the Chronicle reported hogs were disrupting neighbors in Liberty and San Jacinto counties; taking over Spring, Tomball and Cypress areas and driving neighbors in the Woodlands insane. 

The hog epidemic is a problem particularly in Texas; the state’s estimated feral hog populations are in excess of 1.5 million, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

In 2017, feral hogs created an estimated economic toll exceeding $1.5 billion in the U.S. In Texas, it is estimated they cause $52 million in agricultural damages every year, according to the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute.

Steven Horelica, co-owner of Deep South Trapping, a Texas-based hog trapping business, said the Houston area has seen a significant increase in feral hog sightings. He has trapped pigs all over suburban areas in Houston, including Kingwood, Missouri City, Cypress and Liberty.

Over the last few years, the number of hogs he has trapped has increased significantly, from 742 in all of 2016 to 1387 in 2018. So far in 2019, he has already caught 306 hogs.

“Instead of being out in rural agricultural land, they are starting to move into subdivisions and cities,” Horelica said. “It is starting to affect everybody, not just farmers or ranchers.”

Now to be sure, feral hogs have been seen in Kingwood and the Woodlands, as well as western Harris County, for several years. They’re just getting more numerous, which is pretty much the core competency of these buggers. And unlike in rural areas, shooting them with automatic weapons from helicopters is frowned upon in the suburbs. All I know is if they ever make it into downtown Houston, we may as well surrender and hand over control of the state to them. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

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5 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Thankfully we have gun laws that prevent homeowners from getting rid of their hog problems expeditiously.

  2. Ross says:

    It’s not safe to shoot a hog inside the city. The bullets generally go through the hog and are still dangerous on the other side. Misses are far worse. Bow hunting might be an option, though.

  3. Bill_Daniels says:

    Ross,

    Of course you have to be aware of what is around you, what the backstop would be, worst case scenario, but if you are shooting from a standing position at a hog, you’re shooting downward, so even if you miss, you’re probably still just hitting the ground. Of course, considering how shallow utilities are buried here, I guess you could hit a sprinkler pipe, a telephone cable, etc.

    Also, hogs are tougher than you think. A standard handgun round or even a 5.56 round isn’t going to go right through a hog, unless maybe it’s a glancing blow right on the skin.

  4. C.L. says:

    Bill’s right – what Houston and Harris County needs are relaxed gun laws so the hog-affected populace can sit on a webbed lawn chair in their front yard, be it EaDo, River Oaks, West U, Shady Acres, Spring Cypress, Cinco Ranch, etc., with a beer (or dry martini) in one hand and their AR in the other. I’m sure the vast majority of Houston/HC gun owners are hyperconcerned with backstops or shooting from an elevated position so as to lessen the occurrence of collateral damage – undoubtedly they’re the same well trained folks who choose to pop off multiple rounds every July 4th and New Years Eve.

  5. RedfromTexas says:

    Red is more concerned about the wild hogs tearing it up at the Capitol in Austin right now. But on a serious note, hogs can be trapped with much less potential danger to your fellow citizenry. Red was playing golf in a smallish Texas town last week and there was a hog trap in the rough (talk about a tough lie). It was sadly empty but nonetheless this is the way to go if you have a hog problem. We don’t need brave folks (such as fearless coyote killer Rick Perry) taking this into their own hands.