Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller has announced a rule change in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) that classifies a warfarin-based hog lure as a state-limited-use pesticide.
The pesticide, “Kaput Feral Hog Lure,” is the first toxicant to be listed specifically for use in controlling the feral hog population. It represents a new weapon in the long-standing war on the destructive feral hog population.
“This solution is long overdue,” Commissioner Miller said. “Wild hogs have caused extensive damage to Texas lands and loss of income for many, many years, With the introduction of this first hog lure, the ‘Hog Apocalypse’ may finally be on the horizon.”
Warfarin, an anticoagulant, was used for many years as a feral swine toxicant in Australia. There is a demonstrated need for additional feral hog population control methods in Texas, and the regulatory status under the rule change will ensure safe handling and application of this product. The rule change is supported by the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service.
“By making this a limited use pesticide, we are taking every step possible to ensure this toxicant is used properly and efficiently,” Commissioner Miller said. “Years of work and study have gone into addressing the concerns of hunters and others about this product.”
The manufacturer of the product, Scimetrics Ltd. Corp., has been manufacturing rodent management products for 15 years. Extensive testing of warfarin has been conducted in Texas since 2008. The approval of warfarin for feral hog control is the culmination of more than ten years of research between Scimetrics and TDA.
This year, the EPA determined the product to be available for general use because of its low toxicity. However, to ensure the proper precautions are taken, the Texas Department of Agriculture has imposed stricter regulations on the product by labeling it for limited use only. State-limited-use pesticides may only be bought and used by a licensed applicator or someone under the direct supervision of a licensed applicator.
Texas agriculture officials estimate there are currently more than two million feral hogs in Texas.
“Feral hogs can be found in approximately 230 of our 254 counties and cause an estimated $52 million of damage to Texas agricultural enterprises each year, according to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service,” Miller said. “The hogs’ rooting and foraging behavior tears up crops and pastures. Seed, labor and crop growth time are just some of the agricultural damage costs associated with feral hog destruction. Hogs have also been known to knock down fences and damage farm equipment and game feeders.”
Miller’s statement came just days before this issue hit newsstands and already opinions on the issue from readers and various players in the outdoors world have come to light.
Columnist Doug Pike gives his opinion of giving warfarin a chance before judging in his column this month. TF&G contributor Jeff Stewart is extremely opposed to introducing the toxin in the wild in the war against hogs.
“There are just too many things wrong with the issue,” Stewart said. “From the potential impact on other animals to unanswered questions about how it could even possibly impact people this is something I will be writing on and hitting on my various radio and social media broadcasts,”
The Texas Hog Hunter’s Association has created a petition against the use of warfarin to control the hog population.
“For Texas to introduce a poison into the equation is a bad decision in our opinion and could likely contaminate humans who unknowingly process and eat feral hogs,” the THHA said in a statement. “We also believe this can open a whole new level of liability from the state and private landowners who utilize this product.
“We have built an enormous network of hunters, conservationists and trappers who have shown dramatic numbers of catches and population control. We certainly don’t want to be out hunting hogs and kill and consume a poisoned animal. Texas Hog Hunters Association and its partnering companies have ideas, techniques and experience in bringing the numbers down…”
Sellmark President James Sellers said the organization stands with THHA.
“We want to take a stand against using poisons to control wildlife populations,” Sellers said. “Any animal that accidentally ingests the poison or feeds on a hog carcass may be exposed to the harmful toxin. Humans relying on feral hogs for sustenance may also be at risk.”
Numerous TF&G readers have sent in messages about the issue. One who identified himself as a diehard hog hunter said if it is used that he will quit hog hunting altogether.
How do you feel about the issue? Specifically we would appreciate your answering the following questions:
Do you support the use of warfarin?
Tell us why you oppose or support it.
Would its use change your hog hunting activities?
If you are a landowner would you consider using a warfarin based poison to control hogs?
E-mail your opinion on the issue to us at [email protected]
—story by Chester Moore