Holy Cross Episcopal church on West River Park drive is due to take delivery of thousands of pumpkins from New Mexico.
The pumpkins will be laid out for sale in the biggest pumpkin patch in Fort Bend County as part of the church’s annual fundraiser, starting Oct. 11
Organizers fear their money making event, which raises more than $30,000 each year, will be ruined because the pumpkins also make an attractive midnight snack for wild hogs living in nearby woods.
The City of Sugar Land employs private trappers who have caught some hogs. Now those trappers have recommended more drastic measures: hunters with crossbows.
Socct Thompson, rector at Holy Cross, says the church is for the hog hunt.
“My thinking is that if they should kill some down here on our land, the rest of the herd will come to realize this is a dangerous place for them to come and feed, then they’ll stop coming in,” he said.
Tens of thousands of people attend the three-week event. In addition to the pumpkins, the patch plays host to live music and dance troups. Last year, the even went off without a hitch – or hog.
But Thompson said the hogs already are digging up the church’s field this fall because new housing construction in the area has pushed the hogs to move into new areas.
“What has intensified the issue is the housing developments … the hogs are under more pressure to find food and there are thousands and thousands of these hogs,” the Rector said.
However, the idea of turning city land over to hunters got short shrift from authorites who point to a city ordinance that prohibits the discharging of weapons within city limits.
“We are absolutely not going to set a hunter loose in areas that are in close proximity to residential areas to protect a pumpkin patch,” said Sugar Land city spokesman Doug Adolph.
“There’s really no guarantee of a kill shot with a cross bow, you could wound an animal and send it running into a residential area where they would go and create a real threat to human life,” Adolph said.
The city has ruled out shotguns as well and suggests the church do more to protect its event through extra fencing, lighting or even a pumpkin patch guard to chase the hogs away.
Education programs around wildlife also tell people to limit food sources. Sugar Land officials say that the pumpkin patch will only make the problem of wild hogs worse.
“Essentially what they’re going to do is put out a buffet for these hogs and other wildlife,” said Adolph. “We’re building community in areas where these wildlife exist, to some extent we need to learn to live with them.”
The City says hunting would only be considered in extreme cases where there was a direct threat to human life.