Texas

Hoping for ‘hog apocalypse,’ Texas approves pesticide for wild pigs

Feral hogs, shown here at a ranch near Corsicana in 2012, have cost farmers millions in damage, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said.
Feral hogs, shown here at a ranch near Corsicana in 2012, have cost farmers millions in damage, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said. Star-Telegram/Ron T. Ennis

Feral hogs’ life in the wild might get a little tougher.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller on Tuesday announced the approval of limited-use pesticide aimed at combating the state’s large population of wild pigs.

Kaput Feral Hog Lure a warfarin-based poison, should be available to licensed applicators later this year, according to a press release from Miller’s office.

The pesticide, Miller hopes, will bring about a “hog apocalypse, if you will,” he told the Austin American-Statesman.

“If you want them gone,” he said, “this will get them gone.”

Miller has targeted the pigs before — as a state representive, he successfully sponsored a bill that allowed licensed hunters to shoot hogs from helicopters.

But not everyone is happy with his latest plan.

Before Miller even made his official announcement, the Texas Hog Hunters Association created an online petition against the use of pesticide, arguing that poisoned pigs could contaminate the rest of the ecosystem.

By Tuesday evening, the petition had more than 2,300 supporters.

“If this hog is poisoned, do I want to feed it to my family?” Eydin Hansen, vice president of the association, told CBS 11 on Monday. “If a hog dies, what eats it? Coyotes, buzzards...we’re going to affect possibly the whole ecosystem.”

Miller’s office estimated that Texas is home to more than 2 million feral hogs across 230 of the state’s 254 counties. Their rooting and foraging has caused an estimated $52 million in damage to farm businesses, Miller’s press release Tuesday said.

“Wild pigs have been known to uproot entire city parks,” the press release said, and also carry harmful parasites and viruses.

Warfarin, the main toxicant in Kaput Feral Hog Lure, has been used on hogs in Austrailia and is supported by the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, according to Miller’s office.

The injured animal was wedged inside a drainage pipe in a new residential development 35 miles outside of Houston. The alligator snapping turtle was saved by fire-rescue crews and is recovering at a Houston wildlife rehabilitation center.

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