The Texas Javelina Massacre
T exas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s decision to list a warfarin-based hog lure as a state-limited-use pesticide has sent shockwaves through the wildlife community.
The pesticide, Kaput Feral Hog Lure, is the first toxicant to be listed specifically for use in controlling the feral hog population. Opinions are varied, from landowner support to hunter and wildlife enthusiast outrage.
Commissioner Miller said the introduction of the first hog lure may usher in the “Hog Apocalypse.”
It could also set off the “Texas Javelina Massacre.”
The collared peccary, more commonly known as “javelina” is a denizen of the arid regions of Texas. At one time, they roamed from the Rio Grande to the Red River, but that range has been cut down to less than half that size.
There are now according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) roughly 100,000 of these animals inhabiting 62 million acres of rangeland.
One of the most feral-hog-dense regions is the javelina’s South Texas stronghold. Although they are not pigs, they eat many things pigs also eat. They readily devour corn put out for deer, soured grain set out to bait hogs and will without any doubt devour this toxic feral hog lure.
Unlike feral hogs, the javelina is a native species that can easily coexist, but compete little with free-ranging whitetail deer, the state’s most popular game animal. They key word here is “free-ranging.”
TPWD’s “Javelina in Texas” publication notes that “Recent downturns in javelina population trends in South Texas appear to follow drought cycles, habitat management treatments, and more recent emphasis on white-tailed deer management, including high fencing and predator control.”
They go on to say that although habitat improvement for white-tailed deer, such as food plots, supplemental feeding, and water development also improved habitat for javelinas. In many cases it also exacerbated problems between deer enthusiasts and javelinas.
“Incidental and illegal harvest of javelinas due to their perceived nuisance of predation, agricultural damage and competition with deer has added to this decline.”(TPWD)
Big, protein-fed, selectively bred whitetail bucks bring in big bucks to ranchers and javelinas are not a priority. In fact, as the TPWD document notes, illegal harvest is rampant.
If warfarin ends up killing those bucks, there will be an outcry as big as the state itself. If it kills javelinas, you can bet more will be put out. Many will look at taking out hogs and javelinas as a two-for-one special.
Javelinas should be given their due respect, just like any other Texas native, but they are not an easy icon to get behind. Hunters don’t care too much for them, and they are not well-known enough for the “green” movement to support them.
At the time of this writing it looked like the warfarin-based toxin might have some legal hurdles to overcome before hitting the field.
As for the javelinas, they will benefit from any ban or delay.
The “Texas Javelina Massacre” actually began years ago. It was about the time high fences started popping up south of San Antonio, and the javelina became an enemy instead of a respected species.
And no one from any side of the conservation aisle seems to care.
Email Chester Moore at
Email Chester Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org