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.
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 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.