Where do wild pigs originate from?
Pigs were domesticated some 8,000 to 10,000 years ago in what are believed to be multiple areas of origin in both Europe and Asia. Polynesians brought domesticated pigs into the Hawaiian Islands around 700 A.D. The first pigs in the continental U.S. were brought from Cuba into what is now Tampa Bay, Florida in 1539 by Hernando de Soto. Explorers used these domestic pigs as a traveling food source while they searched for gold and other resources. There were some escapes during the exploration and these pigs became the seed stock for future wild pig/feral hog populations. The pig herd that accompanied De Soto’s party increased to approximately 700 head by the time the exploration entered what is now Texas in 1542.
What are the different species of pigs typically found in Texas?
There is but one swine species (Sus scrofa) in the United States. However, the species includes many different breeds, as most of our wild pigs today are originally from domestic stock. There are about 8 species of hogs in the genus Sus (think of them as 2nd cousins to our wild pigs) but about 18 subspecies of Sus scrofa (1st cousins) found worldwide. All of our modern domestic breeds as well as our wild pigs originated from a common ancestor: the Eurasian wild boar that was first domesticated some 8,000 to 10,000 years ago in Europe and Asia.
What’s the difference between a pig, a hog, and a boar, and are they different species?
All are descendants of a common ancestor, the Eurasian wild boar. The term ‘wild boar’ is typically used to describe Eurasian wild boar from Europe or Asia, whereas feral hogs are those that originated from domestic breeds but may be the result of anywhere from a few to many many generations in the wild. Regardless, the Eurasians and domestics gone feral are largely the same species and therefore will interbreed with no problems resulting in all sorts of “hybrids” between the 2 groups. In the U.S., the most inclusive term in use is probably ‘wild pig’.
Please note that none of these pig variations should be confused with the javelina, a native pig-like mammal found in the American Southwest that is not even closely related to wild boars/wild pigs/feral hogs.
What is the average lifespan of a wild pig?
Natural mortality rates vary greatly, and primarily impact the very young and the very old. Predation is not a major issue once a pig reaches a weight of 10 to 15 pounds. Hunting can be a significant source of mortality in some regions but is generally not enough to offset population growth. Depending on a variety of factors, including disease prevalence, vehicle collision risk, and intensity of control efforts, average lifespan is probably about 4 to 8 years.
How big can they grow?
Weights depend on genetic background and food availability. Average weights vary but generally run about 200 pounds for adult males and 175 pounds for adult females. A 300-pound feral hog is a large pig. The unusually large weights of 500 pounds and up that are occasionally reported in the media are very rare.
What is the average litter size and how many litters can a sow produce in a year?
The wild pig is the most prolific large mammal on the face of the Earth. The average litter has between 5 and 6 piglets. Sows have approximately 1.5 litters per year. Young females do not typically have their first litter until they are 13+ months of age, though they can become sexually mature at 6 to 8 months of age or even earlier in some cases.
Are more litters per year and larger litter sizes possible? Yes, they can increase under ideal conditions, but these changes are usually unsustainable over time.
What age are piglets weaned and when do they separate from the sounder?
Piglets have been observed actively feeding on solid food (e.g., shelled corn) at only 2 weeks of age, though they aren’t completely weaned until about 3 months. A sounder is a family group of pigs made up of sows (typically related through about 3 generations) and their piglets. About 80% of the yearling females remain with the sounder and the rest disperse. Young males disperse from the sounder at about 16 to 18 months of age. There is some research that supports the idea that sounders can become territorial, but not the individual pigs.
What is the power of an adult wild pig’s bite?
They have extremely strong jaws designed to crack open hard-shelled nuts such as hickory nuts and pecans. Additionally, as they predate upon or scavenge animal carcasses, they can easily break bones and often consume the entire carcass, leaving little if any sign behind.
How strong is their sense of smell?
The wild pig’s sense of smell is well developed (much better than both their eyesight and hearing) and is strongly relied upon to detect danger and search out food. They are capable of sensing some odors from 5-7 miles away and as much as 25 feet underground! Appealing to this tremendous sense of smell with fermented or scented baits is often essential to trapping success.
What are their eating habits, and how much do they eat in a day?
Wild pigs are opportunistic omnivores, meaning they feed on plant and animal matter in addition to scavenging. They are largely indiscriminate in their feeding habits and eat both vertebrate and invertebrate animals. Approximately 85% to 90% of their diet is believed to be composed of vegetation, including crops where available, and 10% animal matter. Small pigs may eat approximately 5% of their body weight daily; larger pigs consume an estimated 3% of their body weight.
How fast can they run and how high can they jump?
Wild pigs can run up to 30 mph. They can jump over fences less than 3 feet high and have “climbed” out of pig traps with walls 5 to 6 feet high. Therefore, traps with 90 degree corners must be covered on top because the pigs tend to pile up in that corner and literally climb over each other, and the corner gives them enough leverage to go over the top. Either use a 5-foot trap fence with no corners (circular or tear-drop shaped) or cover the corners/top of the trap.
How do they sleep? (habits…i.e. burrow a den? Standing up?)
Wild pigs can simply lie down and sleep, usually on their sides. They will actually construct “nests” that they use for sleeping as well as farrowing (when sows give birth). Some are very simple depressions and others can be quite elaborate. Oftentimes, they simply seek out thick underbrush for security or root into a brush pile or downed tree for security. In the hot months, they will often lie in mud and/or seek deep shade.
Do they use the same trails to get from pace to place? If so, why?
Wild pigs are creatures of habit and will use the same bedding/resting areas and feeding areas as long as the food source remains available. However, they are capable of moving great distances to find food. Human disturbance/pressure will make them alter their patterns of movement. They do have some affinity to their “home range” which can vary from a few hundred acres to several thousand acres based on food availability and pressure. A 2011-12 telemetry study of adult female wild pigs with sounders in East Texas resulted in home range estimates of approximately 2 square miles, or 1,100 acres.
Are older boars loners?
If you see a large wild pig traveling alone, it is almost always a boar. The mature boars become solitary, or sometimes travel with a small number of other large boars, and only join up with sounders when a sow comes into heat.
Is it true that they use of mud as sunscreen and to keep them cool? Does the mud help them with anything else?
Pigs have no functioning sweat glands and therefore they can be sensitive to high temperatures. During hot weather, they can typically be found in cool shady places with water sources and tend to confine their movements to nighttime, when the temperature is lowered. They don’t necessarily use mud as a sunscreen as much as they are use it to cool off and remain comfortable.
Do sows ever eat their young?
It is not considered common or routine behavior, but is not outside the realm of possibility. There are instances where pigs have been known to scavenge on pig carcasses.
How do they interact with other species of animals? Are there any species with which they associate or which they avoid?
Most other wildlife species don’t associate with wild pigs. The less mobile (e.g lizards, toads, snakes) may end up being their next meal, while others (e.g. white-tailed deer) typically vacate the immediate area when wild pigs show up. They may compete with native species for certain food supplies such as acorns and limit the availability of those food sources for less aggressive native species.
How do pigs communicate with each other? Do they squeal to warn other pigs of danger?
Pigs may grunt and squeal to communicate with each other in various scenarios, including sows bonding with their young, adults challenging each other or another animal over a food source, and as an alarm to other pigs in a sounder.
What are the wild pig’s habitat preferences?
Typically, wild pigs will seek out the heaviest cover near water where they will not be harassed, and then range out from that base to feed. The habitats vary greatly across the range of the feral hog in the United States and even in Texas, from fairly arid regions in South Texas and the Trans-Pecos of West Texas all the way to the heavily forested Pineywoods and wetlands in eastern Texas. They must have sufficient food, water, cover, and living space to persist. If one or more of these requirements is not met, they can be extremely mobile and move to new areas that meet all of their habitat needs.
What are all of the legal methods for controlling feral hogs?
Legal control methods include shooting, snaring, trapping, and capture via the use of dogs that are specially trained for that purpose. These methods, when applied regularly, have been shown to be useful in significantly reducing the damage caused by feral hogs. However, with current technology, none of these techniques will guarantee total/permanent eradication of a hog population.
What is the best method of control?
For most landowners, trapping using large traps, with prebaiting and trying various baits among traps, is the most effective method.
How can I deal with deer and feral hogs that are damaging my property?
Since feral hogs are not protected in Texas, they may be taken at any time on private property. The only license requirement for feral hogs is a hunting license. For wildlife that is protected, such as white-tailed deer, there is a depredation permit that may be issued that allows a person to kill the protected wildlife. To obtain a depredation permit, a person must clearly show that wildlife protected by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code is causing serious damage to agricultural, horticultural, or aquacultural interests or other property, or is a threat to public safety. To begin the permit application process, the person who desires to kill the protected wildlife must give written notice of the facts to the county judge of the county or to the mayor of the municipality in which the damage or threat occurs.
How many pigs are caught each year?
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service surveyed landowners in the spring of 2011 to determine how many pigs they removed by all legal means from the Texas landscape in 2010. A total of 697 survey respondents controlling 1.8 million acres from 137 Texas counties removed 36,646 pigs in 2010. Trapping represented 57% of the total and shooting 35%. Dogs removed 6% of the total and snares removed just 2%. Of the “shooting” category, only 11% of the total pigs removed were taken by hunters. Based on this survey, we estimate 753,646 wild pigs are removed each year. We also know that from 2004- 2009, 461,000 hogs were federally inspected prior to slaughter at TX processing plants. These pigs were generally trapped and then sold to buying stations. However, this is only a percentage of the pigs kept for home use or taken by hunters. Several studies suggest that annual hunter harvest averages 24% of the population, but these data are also lacking. It takes between 50% and 70% of a population to be controlled annually just to hold the numbers stable from one year to the next (our population model suggested 66% had to be removed to hold the population stable). Therefore, recreational hunting alone cannot keep a population in check.
Are inroads being made in the wild pig problem?
Our Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 2006-07 study clearly showed that we can reduce the economic impact of wild pigs on agricultural enterprises by 66%. That does not mean we significantly reduced the total population. However, it does show that concerted control efforts can abate damage significantly. Excellent research is being conducted to investigate the use of both contraceptives and toxicants that could provide additional tools for control in the future.
How do I contact landowners to hunt on lands being damaged by feral hogs?
Although the Texas AgriLife Extension Service does not maintain lists of landowners offering hog hunting opportunities, internet searches can provide a number of locations offering hunting for a fee. Many landowners may already be leasing their lands for the hunting of other species and therefore may be unwilling to allow access to others. Ads placed in online forums or local newspapers may be alternative methods of identifying landowners interested in hunter-provided control efforts.
How hard are they to kill?
How hard are they to kill with what? Very hard with a slingshot or BB gun! In all seriousness, most archers shoot wild pigs in the heart/lung region immediately behind the shoulder from broadside or at a slightly quartering away angle, and typically limit their shots to 25-30 yards to ensure accuracy. Hunters using firearms are advised to shoot the pigs in the neck or in the vitals (heart/lung region). Preferred rifles for pigs are 25- to 30-caliber. Regardless of the caliber/weapon, shot placement is essential for a clean and ethical kill.
Do I need a hunting license to take wild pigs in Texas?
The answer depends on your intent. If you are a landowner or a designated agent of a landowner removing wild pigs by any legal means in order to abate damage, then a hunting license is not required. However, if you are taking wild pigs for meat and/or for recreation (e.g., hunting), then a valid Texas hunting license is required. This would also apply to trapping, snaring, or dogging. If in doubt, consult with the game warden assigned to the county where the control/hunting activity will take place.
Can I hunt feral hogs anytime?
Yes, as long as you have permission from the landowner or within designated times on public land. In general, there is no closed season or bag limit and feral hogs can be hunted anytime, day or night. However, if hunting between dusk and daylight, give the local game warden a courtesy call in advance to let them know that you will be hunting at night with lights.
How intelligent are pigs and how are they able to avoid traps?
Wild pigs are one of the most intelligent species (exotic or native) found in the United States. They learn to avoid danger very quickly and “half-hearted” attempts to control them just make them less susceptible to future control efforts. They respond to human pressure via avoidance.
What kind of foods are they most attracted to when trying to trap them?
One size does not fit all when it comes to baits. However, research by Dr. Tyler Campbell (formerly with USDA-APHIS/WS) suggests that wild pigs are attracted to baits that have a sweet pungent odor, such as strawberry or berry flavorings. Hence, you will see several commercial “pig baits” that contain some type of strawberry flavoring, based on this research. Many baits will work, and landowners are encouraged to vary baits among traps to find out what pigs find most attractive at a specific location or during a particular season. However, the more abundant the food supply, the more difficult it is to attract pigs to these baits. Shelled corn is often used, but landowners have also been successful by fermenting corn, milo, rice, oats, etc. to increase the odor attraction. Old fish grease, catfish “stink” baits and overripe fruit and vegetables have also been used successfully. Others have used maple syrup on corn. Some recent research in the southeast found that catch rates were no different between shelled corn and soured corn, although we do know from experience that non-target species’ (e.g., raccoons, deer, crows) use of shelled corn will be much higher than a soured grain product.
Please Note: We do not advocate the use of diesel on corn to encourage use by wild pigs and discourage use by non-targets such as deer or raccoons because we do not know the full impacts of diesel ingestion by the pigs, some of which many be destined for human consumption. Furthermore, the pouring or contact of diesel on the ground may create an environmental hazard.
Are all traps the same?
Recent research in Georgia has shown that the catch rate in corral traps is 4 times higher than in box traps. Also, boars have exhibited an aversion to entering the smaller box traps. Additional research in Alabama found that boars spent an average of 32 minutes per visit to a bait/trap site while sounders spent 70 minutes per visit on average. Also, sounders made twice as many trips to the sites as compared to boars. In Oklahoma, researchers caught more pigs per unit of effort using drop nets as compared to corral traps. They are currently investigating the effectiveness of a “hybrid” trap that combines the attributes of a corral trap and drop net. Regardless, one study showed that 73% of pigs that were trapped and marked were recaptured at a later date. Lastly, one study found that 10 of 12 traps (83%) captured additional pigs within one week of pigs being euthanized in the traps. This suggests that blood left in a trap is not necessarily a deterrent to other pigs.
Which trap doors work best?
Recent research in Alabama, which was further supported by work in Texas, has shown that continuous catch doors (saloon, rooter, and swinging door gates) do not continue to catch additional wild pigs once the door is tripped. Therefore, the use of drop (guillotine) gates can be added to the list of effective trap doors or gates.
Research in Texas was also conducted on the width of gate openings. Camera data previously suggested that many adult pigs have an aversion to entering narrower (<3 feet) gate openings, but the research findings did not confirm this. Regardless, wider gates may reduce the training time necessary for adult wild pigs to accept the presence of, and consequently enter, these traps.
If I capture wild pigs in a trap, what can I do with them?
In Texas, landowners/trappers can hold live wild pigs for up to 7 days. If they plan to hold them longer than that, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) must inspect and approve the holding facilities being used. According to TAHC regulations, females can be sold to permitted buying stations (check the TAHC website for a complete listing of these facilities) found across the state, which is a good method of recouping part of one’s trapping and damage repair costs. Male wild pigs can be sold to a permitted buying station or a permitted hunting preserve. Of course many landowners/hunters/trappers prefer to process the wild pig for home consumption.
Can I sell the hogs that I trap off my property?
Yes. Many landowners chose to recoup some of their investment in equipment and time by selling some or all of the feral hogs they trap to “buying stations”. To find the buying station nearest you, consult your county extension agent or contact the nearest Texas Animal Health Commission office.The price paid varies with the market, but usually the largest hogs are worth the most per pound. Buying stations then transport the feral hogs to one of several processing facilities found within the state. Each hog is inspected before processing and the various cuts can be found on restaurant menus in the U.S. as well as in markets in Europe and Asia.
Are there any toxicants that I can use to control feral hogs?
No, there are no products registered for use as toxicants for feral hog control in Texas. The Texas Department of Agriculture has successfully prosecuted landowners that have chosen to try and reduce feral hog populations via the use of toxicants. Don’t do it; it is illegal!
How many professional wild pig eradication companies operate in Texas?
We have no way to track these companies. A number of individuals do offer control services in the state and can be found via internet searches. Those that trap pigs usually retain the right to then market them to a buying station for processing, or sell males (boars and barrows) to hunting preserves. Several helicopter services that operate in Texas offer aerial gunning for wild pigs.
Property and Habitat Damage
Where are the worst damage problems in Texas?
Anywhere we have wild pig populations, we seem to have problems. From an agriculture standpoint, cropland damage results in higher economic impact than rangelands or pasturelands. More recently, damage to greenscapes in urban and suburban settings have resulted in considerable costs as well.
What is the estimated annual dollar amount of destruction caused by wild pigs across the U.S.?
Some reports place the total damage figure as high as $1.5 billion in the U.S. annually. That is based on a damage estimate of approximately $200 per wild pig per year, with a pig population of 6 million animals, which is an average taken from multiple rough estimates that ranged from 4 to 8 million animals. However, if the population estimates (guesstimates) are incorrect, so is the total damage estimate. Additionally, this calculation assumes that all pigs cause the same amount of damage, which is not an accurate assumption because variations in pig size and location/habitat can affect the degree of impact (e.g., 25 pounder vs. a 250 pounder; lower value rangeland vs. higher value cropland).
What is the average cost of property damage they inflict in Texas specifically? Total cost of annual property damage?
A 2004 survey conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service placed annual damage to agriculture in TX alone at $52 million with an additional $7 million spent by landowners to attempt to control the pigs and/or correct the damage. This was viewed as a very conservative estimate. The total pig population in Texas was estimated at 2.6 million in 2011.
Do Texans understand the severity of the problem?
At one time, the wild pig issue was strictly considered to be an agriculture/rural issue in Texas. However, over the last decade, wild pigs have increasingly impacted urban/suburban areas of the state, including all the major cities, by damaging greenspaces (e.g., lawns, parks, sports fields) and by increases in vehicular collisions that cause damage to vehicles, and in some cases, humans. More urban Texans are now aware of the issues relative to wild pigs.
Does the nation/Washington D.C . understand the severity of the problem?
At an Invasive Species Conference held in Washington D.C in 2010, several presentations were made regarding wild pigs and their impacts. So, efforts are being made to spotlight the issue in not only Texas but also in the other 35 states they now inhabit.
What impact do wild pigs have on our deer population in Texas?
Deer hunting in Texas is annually a $2.2 billion industry. Wild pigs impact white-tailed deer in 3 ways:
1. They compete (and often out-compete) deer for native mast (e.g. acorns) as a food supply in the fall
2. They compete for supplemental food sources (forages, corn fed as bait for hunting and protein supplements) that are meant for deer. We feed 300 million pounds of shelled corn and at least 120 million pounds of protein annually in TX, with a good portion of that feed going to non-target species such as raccoons and wild pigs. We are likely making our wild pig population larger when feeding white-tailed deer where their ranges overlap because of unintended supplement consumption by the pigs. Ideally, we need to exclude feral pigs from deer feeders at all times. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and TAMU-Kingsville conducted a study in 2009 that showed that feeder pens at heights of 28” and 34” effectively denied wild pig access to supplements without significantly impacting deer access. Cost per circular feeder pen is about $170 for six 16’ panels x 34” and 12 t-posts.
3. Deer don’t tolerate pigs very well and typically vacate the immediate areas when pigs show up at feeder locations/stations. This is more often a problem where pigs return repeatedly to a site because there is not an excluder in place.
How do they damage trees?
The environmental areas most sensitive to wild pig damage are wetland areas, where they can significantly alter the vegetative community. They compete with native wildlife for hard mast (e.g. acorns from oak trees). Their rooting can accelerate leaf litter decomposition, which results in loss of nutrients that can impact tree seedling survival. Rooting can also directly damage seedling tree growth and survival. Longleaf pine seedlings seem to be especially vulnerable to wild pigs. Additionally, research has provided evidence that the pigs may actually root up seedlings of various tree species and chew the root systems to obtain nutrients. They also rub against individual trees (pines) that are capable of producing a lot of rosin, presumably as they rub to remove ectoparasites on their skin. This rubbing of selected pine trees has resulted in girdling of some mature trees, which can eventually kill these trees.
What kind of damage are they capable of on a wire fence?
Wild pigs do a great deal of damage to net wire fences, which are generally used to confine sheep and goats. The pigs will tear them up or lift them off the ground to gain access and subsequently leave “holes” that sheep and goats can pass through.
Human/Livestock Health & Safety
What diseases do wild pigs carry, and are they harmful to other animals?
Approximately 15 diseases can be carried by wild pigs. However, swine brucellosis and pseudorabies are two of the more prevalent diseases of concern. Recently, while testing wild pigs for brucellosis, researchers at Texas Tech documented the presence of tularemia in a large number of hogs tested. Tularemia can be transmitted to both other animals and humans, whereas pseudorabies can be transmitted to other animals and swine brucellosis can be contracted by humans. Our recommendation is whenever you are field dressing hogs, use proper precautions (latex gloves and eyewear). However, the biggest disease threat overall involves transmission to domestic swine herds.
Can I catch a disease from feral hogs?
Swine brucellosis warrants particular concern for humans because it can be transmitted to a human from an infected hog via fluid exchange. Hunters should take precautions by wearing rubber or latex gloves and eye wear while field dressing hogs, and then thoroughly wash their hands and disinfect equipment used during that process. It is impossible to simply look at a feral hog and determine if it carries swine brucellosis, so it is always best practice to use safety gear. This disease cannot be transmitted by consuming feral pork, but as is the case for domestic pork products, thorough cooking ( at least 160 degrees F) is a must!
If gored by a wild pig’s tusk, what disease could you get from one?
Most likely, a human would be subject to an infection just as one would from suffering any deep cut or abrasion from any unclean surface.
Is swine flu a legitimate danger from wild pigs, and how abundant is it? (i.e. 1 out of every 10 pigs can spread flu…?)
No. Wild pigs are not a source of swine flu in humans.
Do you have any documented proof of pig violence towards humans?
Ample documentation exists of wild pig-human encounters. However, the likelihood of a human being impacted by a hog/vehicle collision or disease risk, while still low, is greater than an actual physical attack by a wild pig. If a wild pig attack occurs, it is usually during a hunting scenario where dogs are used to bay or corner a pig in a spot and the pig “runs through” the associated hunters standing nearby. Occasionally, humans inadvertently walk between a sow and her litter and the sow reacts to protect her young. Totally unprovoked attacks outside of these two scenarios are rare. Given a choice, wild pigs usually flee rather than fight. However, U.S. newspapers report 5 to 7 human fatalities from wild pig attacks each year.
What is the estimated population of all wild pigs in the United States?
We do not have estimates based on scientific data for the entire U.S; rather, we have guesstimates. Most experts would agree that it is somewhere between 4 million and 8 million animals, but this estimate is not based on good data. There is a real need to conduct surveys to establish baseline population data. In Texas however, the data from 8 studies and further use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was collated to provide an estimate of 2.6 million head. We are also getting a handle on the Texas wild pig rate of population growth. Based on recent studies, we estimate that annual population growth in Texas is approximately 18-21%. At that rate, if left unchecked, the population would take about 5 years to double in size. However, collectively we are doing everything in our power to make sure the population is not left unchecked.
Why do we have so many feral hogs now?
Even though feral hogs were first introduced into Texas in the mid-1500s, it was not until the 1980s that populations of feral swine exploded across the state. The huge increase occurred as result of a “perfect storm” of conditions. During this time, many hogs were moved and re-released to provide a supplemental species for hunting as their popularity increased as a game animal. Also, in Texas it is legal to supplementally feed wildlife and to that end, Texans feed approximately 300 million pounds of corn alone to wildlife annually. Non-target species such as feral hogs and raccoons benefit greatly from the increase in nutrition this supplement provides and respond by producing more young with higher survival rates. Feral hogs are also smart so ineffective or lackadaisical attempts to control their numbers make them wary and less susceptible to control measures. Lastly, feral hogs have a tremendous intrinsic rate of increase. In ideal conditions, mature sows can have 2 litters per year and their female offspring can become sexually mature at 6 to 8 months of age and therefore are capable of producing a litter of their own before their first birthday.
Do all states have wild pigs?
We have recently classified the states with wild pigs into various categories for management planning purposes. Fourteen states currently do not have wild pigs: AK, CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, MN, MT, ND, RI, SD, VT, WA, and WY. Eight states have small isolated populations: CO, ID, IA, NE, NV, NH, NJ and UT. Four states have established but stable populations: IN, KS, WV and IL. Thirteen states have established and increasing populations: AZ, KY, MI, MS, MO, NM, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, VA and WI. Eleven states have large well-established and growing populations: AL, AR, CA, FL, GA, HI, LA, OK, SC, TN and TX.
31. What is the estimated world population of wild pigs?
We do not have enough collected data to answer this accurately. Some countries in Europe and Asia have released their population estimates, but others like the U.S. are struggling to accurately survey populations. The U.S. is currently employing new census techniques to establish more accurate numbers.
Is there some kind of census about the nation’s wild pig population? What we’re trying to find is how fast the population has grown, and at what rate they are continuing to grow.
No, there are guesstimates of from 4 to 8 million but researchers are working on finding better methods to estimate populations by state so we can gain a better handle on the total U.S. population. Anything you read in print right now on total U.S. populations is a pure guesstimate that is not based on scientific data. Our research work resulted in an estimated Texas population of about 2.6 million animals as of 2011.
We seem to hear a lot of “things were fine until a year ago” remarks by people with wild pig issues. Why the seemingly sudden boom in population and fearless invasion of residential neighborhoods?
It’s now a common saying that there are but 2 kinds of landowners in Texas: those with wild pigs and those that are about to have wild pigs. Wild pigs have steadily increased their range by moving northward and westward over the past 25 years. They have also gone from being a rural land/agriculture issue to an urban/suburban issue as well by moving into these more populated areas that are adjacent to adequate habitat that provides cover, security, and food. Continuing encroachment by urban and agricultural development into previously undeveloped areas is also a contributing factor, as wild pigs must seek resources under the pressure of an increasing pig population and decreasing spaces exempt from human activity.
Do their bones, tusks, or hair have any value for human use? (brushes, jewelry, leathers, etc.)
We are not aware of any significant markets for these products, but the meat is consumed by humans. In fact, from 2004-2009, some 461,000 wild pigs captured in Texas were federally inspected and commercially processed for human consumption in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.