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The Benefits of Aerial Hunting for Feral Hog Management in Southeast Texas Pasture and Rangelands

  • Author(s): Steen, Douglas
  • et al.
Abstract

The feral hog is an Old World species introduced to Texas by early Spanish explorers. Populations in Texas are descended from European wild hogs introduced for sporting purposes, and from escaped domestic swine that have established feral populations. Today, Texas has a feral hog population estimated at about 2 million animals, the most of any state. Feral hogs are considered a pest throughout much of their range. They are responsible for damaging crops, pasture, rangeland, livestock, and wildlife resources. Because of their reproductive capacity and their omnivorous eating habits, the feral hog population has rapidly increased across the state over the past 25 years. This increasing population, and resulting economic losses, have led resource managers to investigate alternative methods of managing feral hog populations. The uniqueness of the Texas Coastal Plains habitat lends itself to aerial hunting more often than a habitat type with a more densely formed overstory. We review the impacts of aerial hunting operations in Matagorda County in the Southeast Texas Coastal Plains.

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