Feral Hog Facts and Information
Facts On Wild Hogs:
Wild hog information seems readily available online. However, in all my research of this evasive creature, I have found nothing up to date. There are many studies, and I will use the data in them, to inform you of everything I’ve learned about wild hogs. I can only say that if these are the figures from years past, no telling how they’ve multiplied by now.
The following factual information is provided in thanks to TexasBoars.com
- States with Feral Hogs: 39, not including 4 Canadian provinces
- Texas Counties with Feral Hogs: 225 out of 254 counties
- Hog Population in Texas: 2,000,000
- National Population: estimated around 4,000,000
- Estimated Annual Agricultural Damage from feral swine: $52 million
- Landowner Annual Expense to control feral hogs: $7 million
- Natural Life Expectancy of a Feral Hog: 6 to 8 years
- Average Size of feral hogs: 100-150 pounds*
- *Depending on the region – Some feral hogs can weigh in excess of 700 pounds. In Texas, our feral hog population’s average weight is 200 pounds and growing.
- Reproduction of Feral Hogs: A sow reaches breeding age at 7 to 8 months old. They can be responsible for 1,000 plus feral hogs in a 5 year period! Our state of Texas has an estimated population of 2,000,000 at last check. Do the math; that’s ½ of the COUNTRY’S feral hog population living right here with us in Texas!
In the United States California, Florida and Texas have the highest numbers of feral hogs. One of the Hawaiian Islands has substantial populations as well, and Oklahoma’s population is quickly growing.
Even though these states and many others have populations of feral hogs, they are not indigenous (native) to the United States. A hog-like animal, the javelina or collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu), is native to the southwest U.S. However, the feral hog is a different species, genus and family from the javelina which belongs to the family Tayassuidae. Native to the Southwest U.S., the javelina is often confused with the feral hog. Javelinas are hog-like in appearance; however, they are not closely related.
Ancestors of our swine date back to the Miocene. During the period when the world was shifting and forming new continents, the swine family was excluded from the new world. It was probably not until the discovery of the new world by European man that swine found their way into what is now the U.S. Early explorers such as Hernando Cortes and Hernando De Soto are largely responsible for their introduction. The swine these explorers brought over were domesticated and it was not until the 1930's that the Russian wild boar was introduced.
The feral hog has been very successful in expanding its range and increasing its numbers. Its success can be attributed to several factors: free ranging method or husbandry; its Introduction and reintroduction by hunters; later development in arid areas; improved range condition through better livestock grazing practices; and its ability to reproduce quite rapidly. Feral hog populations have also benefited from increased disease control in the domestic livestock industry.
A boar has four continually growing tusks that can be extremely sharp, and may reach five inches before they are broken or worn from use. Tusks are used for defense and to establish dominance during breeding. A male feral hog also develops a thick, tough skin composed of cartilage and scar tissue on the shoulder area which is sometimes referred to as a shield. The shield develops continually as the hog ages and through fighting. Tusks which are found on the lower jaw, or mandible, can be extremely dangerous when put to use by a mature boar. The upper tusks, or whittlers, help keep the lower tusk extremely sharp.
The pure Russian boar is generally light brown or black with a cream or tan color on the tips of the bristles. Its underside is lighter in color and its legs, ears and tail are darker than the rest of the coat. Its bristles are the longest of the three types of wild hogs. Pure Russian boars have longer legs and snouts and their head to body ratio is much greater than a feral hog. They also tend to have shorter, straighter tails.
Depending on ancestry, the physical characteristics of wild swine can vary greatly. Size, shape and color can all fluctuate. And all types of wild swine can raise their hair on the back of their necks giving them the look of a razorback.
Feral/Russian crosses exhibit combinations of features from both the feral and the Russian hogs. Bristle length in the hybrid is longer than the feral but shorter than the Russian. Hybrids exhibit the smallest bristle shaft diameters. Striped patterns on the young are sometimes thought to be an indicator of pure Russian or feral/Russian crosses; however, this pattern has also been found in feral piglets and therefore is not a reliable method of identification.
Feral hogs represent many unknowns to biologists, wildlife managers, landowners and hunters, and as one biologist so precisely put it, "feral hogs are an ecological black box," Feral hogs in some areas have been credited with the perceived decline of the quail population, yet there are other areas where quail numbers are high and feral hogs are everywhere. They also receive credit for having a significant impact on wild turkey nests, various plant species and entire ecological systems. However, the actual effect hogs have on our environment remains unknown. More research and practical knowledge are needed to give us a better understanding of the feral hog and its influence on game and non-game species as well as the environment and its ecosystems.
We know feral hogs can harbor and transmit some diseases and parasites to livestock and humans. We know feral hogs can have a significant negative impact on some livestock operations through depredation and damage to facilities and fences. Farmers also share in a significant portion of the damage caused by the rooting of fields and depredation of crops.
Feral hogs provide excellent table fare, represent a challenging game species to pursue with weapon or dog, and compete with the white-tailed deer in some areas as the most popular animal to hunt. As mentioned, there are many pro's and con's regarding the status of feral hogs and there always will be as long as we have biologists, farmers, ranchers, hunters, and of course, the feral hog.
Damage Caused By Hogs
Hogs Cause more damage to the land than many people think! Here are a few images to show just how bad a Wild Hogs can tear up your land!