Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 5, 2013

Hog Wild: City officials nab several feral boars hogging public areas

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — City officials have been working diligently to keep a large nest of feral boars from going hog wild in town.

City Manager Mo Raissi said Monday said riding herd on these creatures is extremely important. The grim history feral hogs have of damaging public property in Jacksonville goes back years, he said.

"Right now, we're focusing on moving them to another place to reduce the impact on the neighborhood," Raissi said. "I would advise residents to call public works if they spot any of them."

According to the Texas Wildlife and Parks Department, feral hogs, or "Sus scruff"  are an old world species belonging to the family “Suidae.” In Texas this species includes European wild hogs, feral hogs, and European-feral crossbreeds, the website shows.

"Feral hogs are domestic hogs that either escaped or were released for hunting purposes," the TWPD website states. "With each generation, the hog’s domestic characteristics diminish and they develop the traits needed for survival in the wild."

Will Cole, Jacksonville's director of public works, said there have been – both historically and recently – numerous complaints about these animals lurking around the city. The creatures are famous for leaping out in front of cars in the road and causing damaging wrecks in both night and day.

"We have an ongoing program for trying to trap them and get rid of them," Cole said. "There also was a major problem in the city's soccer fields about five years ago, but fences were built to keep them out."

The targeted wave of hogs tend to come and go behind Trinity Mother Frances, in the 2000 block of South Jackson Street, Cole explained.

"We set some traps out there last week putting corn inside," Cole said. "Those that went to get the corn tripped the cage, which trapped them. We caught about five this time, two adults and three young ones, although we estimate there probably were nine or 10 in that nest."

City officials anticipate putting more corn in the traps to catch the next batch.

"We – for instance –  might get complaints from another area of town that the hogs are going through back yards or on the edges of yards," Cole said, "That's mostly where we find they impact our residents."

The animals will either be shot or donated to area residents who want them for the meat for disposal, according to city officials.

"Some people take them and barbecue them,” Cole said.

"There was some kind of contest going between our utility and street departments to see who could catch the most of them,” he said.

“They were spending the weekend trying to outdo one another with containers and traps."

Cole suggests those who run across feral hogs in person not try to pin any of them into a corner.

"I wouldn't advise trying to rattle one," he said.

"That's the only place they get aggressive. Otherwise, they'll run away from you as long as you don't do that. We will set all the traps again this afternoon and try to reduce numbers so they don't do as much damage."

Anyone who spots a hog in town is advised to call the public works department at 903-589-3510.