With New Pesticide, Texas Ag Commissioner Tells of ‘Feral Hog Apocalypse’

Hunting hasn’t reduced the population, or ended the problem of property damage caused by feral hogs, so Sid Miller has an idea. Poison them.

By Michael MarksFebruary 22, 2017 6:41 pm|

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is fighting a battle against the state’s feral hogs. In Texas, wild swine cause upwards of 50 million dollars a year in property damage. Even after the loosening of restrictions on hunting the invasive species, Texans haven’t been able to outpace the feral hogs’ speedy reproduction rate.

To deal with the problem once and for all, Miller has proposed a new solution to get rid of the hogs: poison them.

Asher Price, a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, says the poison, Warfarin, is used as a blood thinner in humans and is lethal to feral hogs.

“The idea here is that this bait will be put in feeders and the feral hogs will get accustomed to eating the bait and die,” Price says.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the ecosystem shouldn’t be affected by the introduction of this chemical.

Although Miller can implement the use of poison through his own rule-making authority, Price says there may be some pushback from conservationists and hunters who worry about the consequences of introducing this poison to the environment.

“The way the lure is supposed to be deployed is it’s supposed to be put in a special kind of feeder that only an animal with a lot of strength can move a lid and get to. So that’s supposed to keep out squirrels, birds and the like,” Price says. “There have been some questions in other states how tidy feral hogs are with their eating habits and whether they’ll eat from this special trough and leave crumbs all over the place for other animals. “

Price says the root of the current problem began hundreds of years ago when Spaniards introduced domesticated pigs to the wild as a ready food source.

“They really don’t have natural predators,” Price says. “That’s why the state has spent a lot of money trying to encourage people to hunt them down, shoot them, trap them and now apparently poison them.”

Written by Morgan O’Hanlon