Feral hog contraceptive introduced in Angelina County to help curb population growth
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is acknowledging a new feral hog contraceptive to help limit the animals’ reproduction rates.
Feral hogs are known to reproduce at a higher rate than other animals. Cary Sims, the County Extension Agent for Angelina County, said a contraceptive is slowly becoming available on the market, yet more research needs to be done to determine its effectiveness.
“We expect the females to be bred at as young as six months of age. We know that she can get bred twice in a year, and we know that for each litter, a female can have 4-6 babies, and so you start doing the math on that, and they can get very out of hand,” Sims said.
Throughout the years, many have tried to solve the problem through hunting and trapping the hogs.
“One female pig that’s not trapped by the time she’s two years old could be responsible for birthing or daughters giving birth to 50 more pigs,” Sims said.
The contraceptive is still in its early stages of research. Sims recommends anyone that uses the product sets up a game camera. The camera would allow individuals to see exactly what is feeding on it, how much is consumed, and if it is successful in reducing reproduction.
“The issue is we need to target it just to feral hogs. We don’t want the deer population for example for them to eat this bait and then for them to not reproduce. That would be awful. We certainly don’t want somebody’s cows to get into it because that would impact the income of a farmer or a rancher,” Sims said.
Sims said the bait must be hidden in a device that appeals to a feral hog’s natural feeding tendencies.
“A device such that a hog can get underneath that eat the bait and then nothing else is going to come around and root it up. Deer and cattle and racoons don’t root things up,” Sims said.
Sims said the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will continue to monitor the product to study the impact it brings on feral hog reproductive rates. He hopes it is effective in the target population of feral hogs and does not interfere with the breeding of other animals.
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