There are an estimated five million feral pigs in the United States, half of which are located in the Lone Star State. Texas already spends $7 million on their hog management programs but experts say that is not enough to prevent the population from tripling in the next five years. To keep the pigs under control, the state will have to eliminate nearly 66 percent of the swine every year. For comparison, hunters and trappers accounted for over 750,000 pigs harvested in 2010, only 29 percent of the population.
However, Texas does have a few cards up its sleeve, and the foremost of these is boasting one of the largest and most dedicated hunting cultures in America. Hunting hogs has not only become a Texas tradition, but now a necessity.
Many hunters bemoan the fact that while hogs are undoubtedly detrimental to the land, many landowners still charge a fee for hunting on their property. With the addition of equipment and ammunition, these hunts can become very pricey. Now the state is offering an extra incentive in the form of bounties. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) will be partnering with county governments to launch the 2013 County Hog Abatement Matching Program (CHAMP). The initiative will encourage counties to match state funding dollar-for-dollar up to $30,000, which will be then paid to hunters.