NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A bill signed by Governor Greg Abbott has given more freedom to Texans battling the feral hog population. Previous laws restricted the circumstances when hogs could be hunted. Now, the rules have been changed.
“We have been enforcing the law like the way it’s stated now," Nacogdoches County Game Warden Sean Reneau said. "A resident or non-resident does not have to have a hunting license to hunt feral hogs with consent of a landowner.”
Senate Bill 317 changes the phrasing of previous laws related to the hunting of feral hogs in Texas. Starting in September, Texans will be able to hunt and kill hogs without a license regardless if hogs are seen causing damage to property. Reneau says this could help reduce hog populations in Nacogdoches County.
“We’ve got them right in downtown Nacogdoches," Reneau there’s a huge hog problem.”
Angelina County Game Warden Tim Walker says he’s seen similar problems.
“Most of them are gonna be in the Neches River bottom drainage, or the Angelina River,” Walker said.
Texas Parks and Wildlife estimates there are 1.5 million feral hogs in Texas causing some $400,000,000 of damage each year. While this new law will open the door for bringing down the population, game wardens want to make sure people understand where they can and can’t hunt.
“If you are caught hunting without landowner consent, that doesn’t exempt you from having a hunting license," Walker said. Reneau confirmed, saying this will result in Class A Misdemeanor.
“If you’re hunting on public lands, any of our WMAs or national forests, then you do have to have a hunting license to hunt feral hogs,” Reneau said.
Walker says he isn’t convinced that this will have a direct effect on the Texas hog population, but Reneau says making hog hunting more accessible is a step toward fighting the infestation.
“All this is gonna do is afford more people the opportunity to dispatch hogs when given the chance,” Reneau said.
Senate Bill 317 will go into effect on September 1st.