Countless numbers of destructive swine are roaming the area, and local hunters are getting paid to take them out.
Last year, Guadalupe County enacted the Feral Hog Bounty program and is dishing out $5 rewards for each hog harvested to quell the invasive species’ growing numbers.
“The Commissioners Court has put up $5,000 for the year so we can pay out for about 1,000 hogs at $5 a tail.” Guadalupe County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office Agent Jeffery Hanselka said.
This is the second year that the court has offered the bounty for the hogs, Hanselka said.
“Last year, we collected over 700 tails, and as of right now, we’ve got a little over 200 just since October,” Hanselka said.
The bounty season runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.
Hogs use their long tusks to root the land, searching for food, causing thousands of dollars of damage, Hanselka said.
“There are thousands and thousands of them,” he said. “They are very mobile and travel great distances looking for food, water and shelter. The river bottoms and creek bottoms that we have all throughout the county are an ideal habitat for them. There are some parts of the county where they are a real issue and cause quite a bit of damage agriculturally to hayfields and equipment and things like that.”
Hanselka said the increase in Seguin’s population has led to more contact between humans and hogs, adding to the growing amount of reported damages.
“It all crept up about 20 or 30 years ago, and in the last 20 years, it just exploded,” he said. “They’re very prolific as far as raising young each year. They can have two to three litters a year, and they can multiply very quickly. There are more and more people moving into the county, and they are having more and more issues.”
The hogs can be hunted year-round, and in many ways, Hanselka said.
“Parks and Wildlife and TDA (Texas Department of Agriculture) are working on testing poisons or toxins, but there’s nothing that’s officially labeled right now,” he said. “Right now people mainly shoot them during deer season, we’ve gotten quite a few in around that time. People also trap them using snares, and there’s even some places that sell hog hunts in helicopters. They are an exotic species, there’s no season, and they can be hunted day and night.”
All hogs must be slain within Guadalupe County to be eligible for the bounty.
Hunters are required to fill out a federal W-9 form as well as a Guadalupe County Feral Hog Bounty Program Participation form before they can receive any money.
“The W-9, you only have to fill out once a year,” Guadalupe County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office Secretary Brittany Nolte said. “But the other form must be filled out every time they come in with a tail. The county form will require landowner information and the address that it (the hog) was bagged at. That way, if they need to, they can follow up with the landowner to make sure the kill was in our county.”
The Guadalupe County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office is located 210 E. Live Oak St. For more information about the bounty program, the office can be reached at 830-303-3889.