David Companik, Realtor® | Blog

Howdy!… and what are Feral Hogs?

Hello, folks! I’ve been busy of late. I closed a commercial sale on the town square at the end of July and listed a new rural property a week ago, and I’m working on a pending sale and a few contract offers. These top priorities, along with the day-to-day “maintenance” work required in my business, keep me happily occupied.

I showed a 218 acre property in Leon County yesterday; it’s an office listing. The customer was looking at the place as a prospective investment. The Texas goatweed on the red-dirt entry road into the property was standing higher than the hood of my truck, but I plowed through without any trouble and left a cloud of goatweed “wool” (a hairy growth on the plant) floating in the air. This weed (and it truly is one!) can invade pasture land and choke out weaker grass root systems, resulting in a thick, widespread growth that is inedible to all livestock but goats. In addition to conventional herbicides, goats can be an effective control and eradication tool for goatweed and other unwanted weed species. Unlike horses and cattle, goats are predominately browsers whose diet subsists of 70% non-grassy species, so they don’t significantly compete with the livestock for grass.

After entering through the second gate into the property, I saw a herd of feral hogs run across the road about 10 yards ahead of me; it appeared to be a sow with her several piglets. These wild inhabitants of the rural south are one of the greatest natural threats to farm and ranch land, as well as a popular game sport for Texas hunters. With an estimated 2 million hogs in Texas alone (about 50% of their total US population) and the average sow giving birth twice a year to litters of 4 to 8 piglets, these omnivorous pests are invading rural land in large number to feed on agricultural grains, fruits, crops, grasses, roots, tubers, nuts, and more. Their need for protein also compels them to eat eggs, birds, reptiles, small mammals, and the young of wild mammals and livestock, and they will even cannibalize one of their own if a pig carcass is available! Because many of their food sources require them to root with their tusks and snouts as deep as 3 feet into the ground, they frequently plow up the soil across many acres of land, leaving a costly wreck for an angry farmer to deal with. Here are a few Texas viewpoints on the “pig problem” we face:

While showing the property, I had to cross a few hog-furrowed fields – quite a bumpy ride! They sure do leave their mark on a place. After finishing there, I drove back to Madisonville and stopped at the car wash to clean the goatweed wool out of my radiator… and then it was time to hang up my hat for the day and enjoy dinner with my wife!

To read more about feral hogs, you can view the online pamphlet “Feral Hogs in Texas” provided by the Texas Cooperative Extension, Wildlife Services Dept.

Do you have any feral hog stories or information to share? Please leave a comment on this post!