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

Q: Statistical Facts on Wild/Feral Hogs:
Relevant facts as of 2006:
  • 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!

Q: Reproduction:
Though we state that the “average litter size” for a feral sow is 4 to 6, this really depends on the breed of the feral hog and the food supply availability. Feral Sow which have just escaped or those that retain much of their domestic breeding will have visibly larger litters. Another noted interesting fact about the breeding/raising practices of wild hogs is that wild sows perform babysitting duties. Litters from many sows can will be watched over and suckled by one sow while the others are off feeding. This accounts for the sometimes very large number of babies spotted with just one sow.
Q: Biology of the Feral Hog: Smell:
A feral hogs’ sense of smell is astonishingly underrated. It is known that wild hogs have a highly developed, acute sense of smell. For those of you who have ever tried hog traps to capture your wild hog infection, this is why patience must be preserved! A wild hogs’ sense of smell rivals that of even deer and when placing traps or such, our human scent is left lingering. The human scent can last for days on an item. After your scent wears off the trap, then and usually ONLY then, will the wild hogs come into the trap. Even if BAITED, the hogs will NOT touch the trap nor the food in it if it carries the strong human odor(s) left behind when being placed. So break out the scent killers, guys and gals! You’re going to need them!
Q: Hearing/Eyesight:
The feral hogs’ sense of hearing is also highly developed. Their eyesight is also under estimated, according to Universities who have studied them. Talk to anyone who raises or breeds hogs and they will tell you; they agree with this statement. I even saw it reported where one raiser claimed that “at over 100 yards [their] hogs can distinguish not only a human figure, but have eyesight that is capable of distinguishing a “human friend” or “stranger” from facial characteristics and build.” Feral hogs may not run, but be warned: they can see you. They know you are there. The disadvantage of a feral hog is only due to their low profile. Feral hogs cannot see over grass or vegetation because of this. Also, they cannot raise their heads as deer or other wild game can to enable them to see over such.
Q: Intelligence:
Many studies state that wild hogs are indeed very intelligent. Many hunters or trappers will say they are the most intelligent animal in the woods. What other animal(s) will pass up baited traps solely because they remember it’s a trap? Hogs will and do. These animals aren’t easily captured because their intelligence makes it that more difficult to capture them. To capture wild hogs, you must be prepared to put in the effort. You have to have the patience to wait days on end for one to take the bait. You must be prepared to continually move your traps because the hogs will remember where you’ve caught other hogs, and stay away. I wish capturing wild hogs was as simple as setting out a baited trap and hauling them in, but alas, they just aren’t that easy!
Q: Feed:
Wild hogs eat both plants and animals. This scientifically classifies them as omnivores. When prepared properly, wild boar is both good and safe to eat. Wild Boar have a shield. This shield is considered scar tissue or a callus which becomes harder and thicker with age. The shield covers the hog, beginning from the neck to the last rib. This shield is generally about 1 inch thick, but can be more than 3 inches thick and is found mainly on the boar. Its purpose is to protect the boar during battles with each other. The weight of a fully mature feral hog will vary from 200 pounds to over 700 pounds. True Wild boar (or Russian Boar) will weigh around 400 pounds when fully grown at 4-5 years of age. The weight of the feral hog is determined by the domestic breed line of the animal. The following information came from the Noble Foundation.
Q: History:
Feral hogs (Sus scrofa), which are wild swine from domestic ancestry, belong to the family Suidae. Actually, there are three types of wild hogs found in the United States: feral hogs, Eurasian wild boar (Russian) and hybrids between these two types. The hybrid of course is a cross between the feral hog and the Russian wild boar.
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.
Q: Current Status:
Today, there are areas in the U.S. where the pure Russian wild boar (native to European and Asian continents) can still be found due to importation for sport hunting. However, most feral hogs are from domesticated swine. Feral hogs are in fact wild but are not a different species than domestic hogs or Russian boars. Webster's dictionary defines feral as: having escaped from domestication and become wild. Hence, all feral hogs in the U.S. up until the 1930's were from domestic stock. In a few areas where the Russian boar was imported for sport hunting, escapes have occurred resulting in feral Russian crossbreeding.
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.
Q: Biological Characteristics:
Ongoing studies are being conducted to determine distinguishable characteristics between domestic, feral, Russian and feral/Russian crosses through DNA testing, skull measurements, external body measurements, coat coloration patterns, bristles and other criteria. Much has been learned, but definite determinants have not yet been developed. Therefore, it should be pointed out that the following descriptions are general and relative. In general, a feral hog looks like its domestic counterpart. Coat coloration patterns can vary from solid black, brown, blond, white, or red to spotted (various combinations of black, white, red, and brown) or belted. A belted hog has a white band across the shoulder and forelimbs. Feral hog bristle length is generally longer than a domestic hog but shorter than the hybrid or pure Russian. A feral hog can reach three feet in height and over pounds in weight; however, the average sow weighs approximately 110 pounds and the average boar weighs 130 pounds.
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.
Q: Predators:
Another possible ally we have to aid in the control of feral hogs is the coyote. Piglets and small hogs can provide an excellent dinner for a coyote. There are known instances of an increase in the coyote population as feral hog populations increase. However, the extent that the coyote can control a hog population remains to be documented. Owls and bobcats also have been reported as predators of piglets and small pigs. In other parts of the U.S., mountain lion and black bear are also known predators.
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!

Hog Damage

Hog Damage

Hog Damage