Texas Reforms Feral Pig Law – No State License Required to Hunt

Feral Pig Shot in Texas by Author

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- Governor Abbott has just signed another pro-liberty bill,  this one about pig hunting. Texas has a problem with feral pigs. From smithsonianmag.com:

Wild hogs are among the most destructive invasive species in the United States today. Two million to six million of the animals are wreaking havoc in at least 39 states and four Canadian provinces; half are in Texas, where they do some $400 million in damages annually. They tear up recreational areas, occasionally even terrorizing tourists in state and national parks, and squeeze out other wildlife.

Texas allows hunters to kill wild hogs year-round without limits or capture them alive to take to slaughterhouses to be processed and sold to restaurants as exotic meat. Thousands more are shot from helicopters. The goal is not eradication, which few believe possible, but control.

The pig in the picture was shot in Texas a few years ago. I was required to purchase an out of state Texas hunting license to shoot the pig and harvest the meat. At the time, I and my companions groused about the necessity of buying a hunting license in order to help Texans control their wild pigs.

It wasn't that the cost was excessive, though it seemed counter-productive. It was the extra time and difficulty taken to obtain the license. Sure, it was only a stop at a WalMart. But when you are on a tight time budget (I was still working for Uncle Sam at the time), the extra time in finding the place to get the license, going there, and then going through the process to get it, was irritating.

Governor Abbott signed HB 317 into law on May 31, 2019. It passed the Senate, unanimously, on 11 April.  It passed the House, unanimously, on 14 May.  From news4sanantonio.com:

AUSTIN – Governor Greg Abbott has given some ammunition to those who are in a battle against Texas' feral hog population.

Governor Abbott signed House Bill 317 which allows people to hunt feral hogs without a hunting license. The law, which was authored by Senator Bryan Hughes of Mineloa, was passed unanimously by the House and Senate before going to the governor's desk.

The bill goes into effect on 1 September, 2019. This is not a huge step, but it is a something everyone in the legislature could agree on. Why put roadblocks in the way of controlling an invasive species that is doing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage?

Many Texas landowners already gain additional income by charging hunters to hunt feral pigs on their property. This bill simplifies things a little more, allowing the procedure to be completely between the landowners and the hunters.

In my experience, Texas feral pigs are fine eating. The one pictured was about a hundred pounds, and it was excellent. Pork from feral pigs tends to be much leaner than domestic pork. I am told the very large boars (over 300 pounds) are not as good for the table.

One Texan hunting guide told me, when asked what size he favored, that piglets were the best.

As with any animal, what the animal was eating prior to being harvested, how the carcass was processed in the field, and how the meat was butchered, stored, and prepared, can have significant effects on the palatability of the meat at the table.

Kudos to the Texas Legislature and to Governor Abbott.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 13 thoughts on “Texas Reforms Feral Pig Law – No State License Required to Hunt

    1. Female Hog can have up to 12 piglets, in 9 months those piglets can have piglets, they are reproductive machines! Missouri is making a huge mistake!

    2. So no license if your on private property? Wtf the land owner could have just signed a paper agreeing that you are one of his land agents and no license is required. If your on your own property no license is or was required. Does this new no license thing include the few wildlife managment areas around our lakes wher you can only use a bow to hunt and have to still buy a land use permit?

    3. Well bob no one says you have to come to Texas and hunt wild hogs . Yes they are a problem and no they will never be eradicated because that reproduce so quickly. I have a large population on my property here in Texas and they sure are fun to hunt and good eating to.aw

      1. The out of state fee wasn’t that expensive to begin with, it is the finding the public hunting land. Texas had the cheapest out of state fee , but a lot of the guides prices were just to high for the general public

    4. Unless you hunt public land that there is very little of in Texas expect to pay what I think is a lot of money for the privilege of hunting a animal they want eradicated.

      1. @Bob, The land owner needs that money for extra insurance in case you get hurt. Hunters are a lot of extra rigamarole. I just say no.

    5. That’s great news. Have been thinking of lining up a pig hunt. Never done it. TX is the leading candidate.

    6. Missouri doesn’t even allow the hunting of feral hogs at all, and they are a pretty big problem there, too. Nebraska, where I live, doesn’t either, but they’re not much of a problem here, except for a couple of counties, or so I understand.

      1. Female Hog can have up to 12 piglets, in 9 months those piglets can have piglets, they are reproductive machines! Missouri is making a huge mistake!

    7. Never could understand laws regulating the hunting ,shooting , or killing of an animal that causes so much trouble.
      A lot of states make it hard to hunt pigs.

      One would think they would throw out the welcome matt and say please come and shoot them.

      This is a good step.

      1. Duane,

        Your thinking logically there…. Your talking about politicians, they have to make it so convoluted and difficult that you NEED them to get a license. Where is the money trail to their pockets (Whoops, I mean the State PIGGY bank that they plunder for their PET projects) if there is no hunting fee?

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