Everyone in Texas that has land is familiar with the annoying and destructive (Sus scrofa) othewise known as the Eurasian wild boar or feral hogs (as we Texans say).
Texas has an estimated population of anywhere between 1.6 to 2.0 million feral hogs. Who knows for sure? Regardless, that amount of "nose shovels" can decimate a property as well as your wildlife. According to the Unites States Department of Agriculture (USDA) there are approximately 4.0 million hogs (inclusive of Texas) throughout 35 states.
Feral hog is an invasive species brought to the US in the 1500s by early settlers. Why are they an invasive species? Invasive species are defined as plants or animals that are non-native to an ecosystem and often have broad negative impacts on the environment where they are introduced.
Should you care? YES! Those "little piggies" will predate on game birds such as your quail and wild turkey. These species are ground nesters and the hogs are opportunists (ground nests are easy pickens). They will destroy the quail and turkey habitats with their "nose shovels" as well as eat the delicious native plants which allows for the spread of invasive weeds.
How about your Deer? Feral hog diets are mostly vegetation. Deer are herbivores, so the hogs will compete with your deer for acorns avd other desireable plants. The hogs will also chase away any deer from good feeding sites. Don't forget they are omniverious and will prey on fawns too! The hogs can also transmit diseases to the deer.
WAIT - I ain't done! (bad English, I know, but you get the point!)
Diseases, Diseases and Diseases!
Yep, the "little piggies" are disease carriers and are capable of transmitting them to wildlife and humans alike!
I love to eat feral hog, especially the ones that are around 25-35 pounds.
Pop Quiz: You are a hog hunter, you drop a great piece of walking BBQ, how do you clean the hog? I used to many years ago eviscerate the animal in a naked state (no, not bodywise BUT handwise). I used NO protection (gloves) on my hands.
BIG MISTAKE! Especially since I have become educated to the potential transmission of diseases by the hogs. Some of the diseases feral hogs can transmit to humans are Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Pathogenic E. coli, Salmonellosis, Tuberculosis and Tularemia. USDA BROCHURE (CLICK TO DOWNLOAD)
I found a great app that you should place in your phone from the USDA (Diseases of Feral Swine) Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.uga.vmerc&hl=en) and Apple iOS (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/feral-swine/id1138872973?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4).
Protect Yourself -- use safe field dressing techniques
- Avoid all contact with visibly ill animals or those found dead.
- Use clean, sharp knives for field dressing and butchering.
- Wear eye protection and rubber or latex gloves (disposable or reusable) when handling carcasses.
- Avoid direct contact (bare skin) with fluid or organs from the hog.
- Burn or bury disposable gloves and inedible parts of the carcass after butchering.
- Wash hands as soon as possible with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or more and dry hands with a clean cloth.
- Clean all tools and reusable gloves used in field dressing and butchering with a disinfectant—such as dilute bleach. (Read the safety instructions on the label)
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