Giants of the Inner City
ARE FERAL HOGS new coyote?
In other words, have they become the latest large wild creature living quite cozily within the city limits of the largest cities in Texas and beyond? The answer is “yes”.
Right now, sizable feral hog populations exist in the Golden Triangle and Houston. You can find them on the outskirts of San Antonio as well as some inner city penetration in the greater Austin area.
I believe what we are about to see is cities harboring some absolutely monster-sized hogs.
In the past I have written and lectured on what I call “Monster Hogs,” which are any weighing more than 500 pounds. Such animals are few and far between, but some of our cities offer adequate habitat, food and cover to support them.
Large boars in particular, which tend to be solitary, are great at remaining hidden. They may in fact possess more “intelligence” than any other wild animal in North America.
Add to this a lack of hunting pressure. The fact that firing guns in city limits is a no-no will give hogs with monster genes the opportunity to live to maximum potential.
This is where it will get interesting.
Sightings will be elusive, but these creatures will be seen. It might be in a schoolyard near children or eating Fifi the poodle as granny takes it for a stroll in the park.
Early in my writing career a man told me he had located a really big, black boar in a wood lot behind a department store in East Texas. He wanted to know whether I wanted to tag along with him and his dogs to catch it.å
I declined because I figured he did not have permission to hunt there.
Two weeks later a letter arrived in the mail with a photo of the hog they killed, all 400 pounds of it. I later drove by the area to inspect and saw the 20-acre wood lot where the beast had lived right around people.
Animal control officers throughout Texas (and as far north as New Jersey) are contending with hogs now on a daily basis. However, monsters like these are unlikely to participate in any trapping program they initiate.
Without standard hunting as an option in these urban sanctuaries, those hogs with the genetic code to grow huge could dethrone the coyote as the apex predator of city-dwelling wildlife.
Young pigs will provide food for coyotes, but the ones I am writing about might just decide to make coyotes their food.
Hogs Gone Wild in Childress
Feral hogs are domestic hogs that either escaped or were released for hunting purposes. Considered a nuisance animal, they compete with livestock and native wildlife for food. Their rooting and trampling can damage native habitat, fields and crops. It’s estimated there are over 1.5 million feral hogs in Texas. Use extreme caution around mothers and their young and wounded hogs. These hogs were videotaped at the Childress High School wildlife management area. For more information, visit tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/nuisance/feral_hogs/
—story by CHESTER MOORE