Hays, Caldwell and Guadalupe seeking grant to combat feral hogs

Feral Hogs ruin farm land, crops, and live-stock. PHOTO COURTESY OF FERALHOGTASKFORCE.COM

By: 
Anita Miller

 

The hogs aren’t waiting, but officials in three counties are.

Commissioners courts in Hays, Caldwell and Guadalupe counties have all signed off on requesting a grant from the Texas Agrilife program to fund a four-month, comprehensive program with a goal of eradicating 6,000 feral hogs.

Hays and Guadalupe counties approved the grant submission last Tuesday, and it was given the green light Monday in Caldwell County, said Nick Dornak, watershed services coordinator for The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

Until February, Dornak was watershed coordinator for Plum Creek and headed up the Caldwell County Feral Hog Task Force.

“We’ll know in April,” Dornak said, whether the requests are granted. The total project cost is estimated at $15,600.

In Precinct 4, feral hogs have become an issue. “When my office gets complaints of shots being fired late at night, it’s not unusual to find the complaints are related to neighbors who are shooting at hogs on their property-- attempting to eradicate their feral hog issue,” Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hood said. “We also occasionally get complaints of drivers hitting hogs on Fitzhugh Road or Route 12, as they run across the roadway. I also know that some property owners are setting up traps for the hogs.”

For the elimination of feral hogs, Hays County has committed to a matching fund of $1,250. Dornak said Caldwell County will put up matching funds of $7,500 and Guadalupe County, $5,000.

Feral hogs are a growing hazard across Texas, where they have done millions of dollars of damage to property and fouled countless waterways including Plum Creek.

The proposed abatement plan includes the following “deliverables:”

• A Central Texas Feral Hog Action Plan

• A centralized website (much information is already available at feralhog- taskforce.com)

• Development and allocation of shared resources including county-level assessments and bounties

• Equipment including traps that can be monitored and triggered remotely

• Cost-sharing incentive programs

• Coordinated educational programming and county-based workshops

• A dynamic social media campaign

Public-private partnerships are also expected to play a key role.

Though the grant would only cover four months, Dornak said the hope is that there will be another program to replace it this fall.

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