Public input sought to help pinpoint major hog trouble areas
Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contacts: Jared Timmons, 254-485-4886, email@example.com
Mark Tyson, 979-845-4698. firstname.lastname@example.org
COLLEGE STATION – Feral hog management experts need your help, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service associate who deals with the unwelcome critters.
“AgriLife Extension has developed an online feral hog reporting system, but for it to be successful, we need ongoing input from landowners and the general public,” said Jared Timmons.
Jared Timmons, who is based in San Marcos, said the system at http://feralhogreports.tamu.edu/ is meant to document feral hog activity. The system, originally piloted beginning in 2009 in the Plum Creek Watershed in Caldwell and Hays counties, has just been made available statewide.
“This newly expanded reporting tool was developed to record two types of feral hog activity,” Timmons said. “One reporting method is the public report, which allows the general public – most likely motorists seeing hogs along the highway – to report feral hog sightings and activity. The other method solicits landowner input relating to feral hog damage and financial loss, and control measures conducted on their property.”
Timmons said feral hogs contribute to watershed pollution through wallowing and defecating in and around streams. This can increase E.coli bacteria, nutrients and sedimentation in the water bodies. Feral hogs not only pose a problem for water quality in the state, they also compete with wildlife and livestock for habitat, harbor endemic and exotic diseases, and transmit parasites to domestic livestock and humans. Their rooting, wallowing and other behaviors cause damage to pastures, cropland and wildlife habitats.
“The reporting system will be used to support AgriLife Extension’s outreach efforts and those of our watershed partnerships across the state,” Timmons said. “These partnerships include landowners and citizens, city and county officials, and state and federal agencies working together to protect water quality.
“The public and landowner reporting of feral hog sightings and/or signs of damage will help us locate areas of high activity and guide both management and educational efforts to reduce their impact to watersheds,” he said.
Timmons was recently joined by Mark Tyson in College Station who, like Timmons, is an AgriLife Extension associate hired to help address the burgeoning statewide feral hog problem. The men are tasked with providing technical assistance to landowners, by conducting site visits to assist in creating a feral hog management strategy specific to their property. They also provide watershed-based educational training to increase public knowledge of feral hog biology, behavior and management options.
Timmons is assigned to the Plum Creek, Geronimo and Alligator Creek, Gilleland Creek and Lower San Antonio River watersheds. These watersheds are in Caldwell, Comal, DeWitt, Goliad, Guadalupe, Hays, Karnes, Refugio, Travis, Victoria and Wilson counties.
Tyson’s area of responsibility involves Bastrop Bayou, Dickinson Bayou, Lake Houston Area Watersheds, San Bernard River Watershed and Upper Oyster Creek. These watersheds are in Austin, Brazoria, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Grimes, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker, Waller and Wharton counties.
More information on feral hog management is available at: http://plumcreek.tamu.edu/feralhogs/, http://feralhogs.tamu.edu/, or http://www.extension.org/feral_hogs. Or visit the Texas A&M AgriLife Bookstore at https://agrilifebookstore.org/.