by Larry Lemmons
Amarillo, Texas - Feral hogs cause about 52-million dollars a year crop damage in Texas.
That's not counting golf courses and yards and such. Most of the area feral hog problem is in the eastern side of the Texas panhandle.
In the Palo Duro Canyon just south of Claude. The area is fed by two springs, which is why hogs populate the area. Hogs tend to be nocturnal. Photos have been taken by researchers at the Agrilife Extension Service with a so-called "hog cam", set up to capture the images.
During the day we found tracks and signs of rooting at a prickly pear. Landowner Ned Dorsey says, "They root it out with their snouts and eat the root and then the prickly pear dies. You can see the droppings where the hogs have been in here."
Dorsey has built a number of traps on his property to catch the hogs."If a hog comes through there, simply knock the stick out from there and then they're trapped."
Some landowners are resorting to the air. Armstrong County Extension Agent Kyle Stewart says, "Local ranchers and producers down along the Donley/Armstrong county line are taking in some aerial control measures and they're cleaning up the hog situation down in that country."
Hogs breed rapidly. It's not uncommon for a sow to be a grandmother in her first year. Texas Agrilife Extension Agent Ken Cearley says, "There seems to be a steady, upward trend in their numbers. And I'm encouraged by people saying they're spending a lot of time trying to remove hops as they see them moving into their country because that's our best hope, I think."