According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife department, the Spanish introduced boars to Texas sometime in the 1700s. Then, in the early 1900s, Russian boars were introduced for hunting. Since then, these wild pigs---a cross between Spanish wild hogs, Russian boars and domestic pigs that have escaped and become wild---have ranged freely across Texas. Feral hogs are more plentiful in the eastern part of the state, but over the last 20 years, these wild pigs have moved into west Texas.
Feral hogs can have three litters of pigs each year, with four to six piglets in each litter. Wild pigs have no natural predators, which allows the population to grow fairly rapidly and take over an area. These hogs eat, or otherwise destroy, crop land and habitat for other animals. They also kill other small animals. Wild hogs are very aggressive and will attack humans or other animals if they feel cornered. They are also known to carry disease that can spread to other animals. In most cases, hogs cannot transmit these diseases to humans.
In west Texas, feral hogs are often mistaken for javelinas. Javelinas and feral hogs look somewhat similar and inhabit the same areas in west Texas. However, javelinas are a different species and do not interbreed. Javelinas are marked by a white collar around their shoulders. Wild hogs have longer hair and lack a white collar. Javelinas are considered game animals with hunting seasons and limits. They are also more social and tend to roam in herds. Feral hogs are wilder, more aggressive and are not protected as game animals. Accidentally killing a javelina out of season is a misdemeanor, just as killing any animal out of season is considered a misdemeanor.
Feral hogs are found mostly in central and southern Texas, but the population of feral hogs in west Texas is growing. You must have a hunting license to shoot feral pigs, but there is no season or limit. Landowners may hunt and shoot them by any legal means without a license. They may also give others permission to hunt feral pigs on their land. A license is only required on public lands. Resident licenses cost $25, while an out-of-state resident must pay $315, as of 2010.
Hunting and Guides
Hunting outfitters, such as the Boar Camp, say hog hunting is one of the most exciting hunts there are because of the aggressive nature of wild hogs, as well as their cunning and speed. Guided hunts provide an area to hunt, as well as an experienced guide who can take care of various details and put you in the best position to make a kill. West Texas has more desert-like conditions than other parts of the state, so make sure you have plenty of water and take precautions against the heat.
There are many ways to hunt wild pigs in west Texas. Much like a deer hunt, hunting from stands allows a hunter to wait for an animal to pass. These areas are typically baited. A hunter can also use the stalking method to seek out and shoot an animal. This puts a hunter in closer contact with a wild pig, making it more dangerous but more exciting. There are also dog hunts, where dogs chase down wild pigs and wait for the hunter to make the kill.
There is plenty of wide, open space in west Texas providing many options for hunting. A hunter who prefers to take care of his own arrangements and wants plenty of freedom might consider a hunting lease. Many farms in west Texas lease areas out for hunting for set times. Meals and lodging may be provided, but there are no guides. Leasing is somewhat less expensive than a guided service. A lease might cost around $300 per day, while a guided hunt would cost about $500 a day per person, as of 2010.
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