THE recent sighting of feral pigs in the Woods of Shavano does not have the neighborhood going hog wild just yet, the community association president said.
A resident discovered the boars near her home on Rocky Pine Woods, according to a recent article published in the Woods of Shavano Community Association newsletter.
A board member alerted by the resident then contacted police and animal control to remove the hogs, but those efforts met with no success, the article indicated.
While association President David Markson does not take the report lightly, he is not overly worried about the hogs’ presence if they are only consuming plants.
“I think something should be done sooner rather than later before the (hogs) become a problem,” Markson said. “It’s not a crisis at this point, as far as I can tell.”
Hiring a private agency to remove the hogs is a route the neighborhood association may pursue in the future, he added.
Over the years, development on the North Side has continued to encroach into what were once wildlife habitats, leading deer, coyotes, hogs and other animals to seek food in subdivisions.
Feral swine have become a growing nuisance in Texas in recent years. With an estimated state population of 1.5 million, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department website, wild pigs cause agricultural damage that amounts to roughly $52 million annually.
They can wreak havoc on lawns, parks, golf courses and water supplies.
In rare cases, a human can also be injured or even killed by a pack of hogs.
The most recent assault occurred in November when a Southeast Texas woman’s body was discovered outside the home of an elderly couple she cared for. Several bites found on the body linked the cause of death to a hog attack, according to investigators in Chambers County.
Association board member Ruby McDonald said her concerns about feral hogs in the Woods of Shavano rose when she saw the television report about the death in Anahuac.
“That was a terrible tragedy,” she said. “I am hopeful that anything like this incident will not happen here.”
It’s open season on wild hogs year-round.
In addition, state lawmakers have taken measures to address the hog problem the last few years. The most recent came last September with a new law that permits hunters to pursue hogs on private property without a license. Landowner consent, however, is needed to perform such activity; hunting on public land still requires a license.
Two years prior, state officials passed a law that authorized hogs to be shot from hot air balloons; the “Pork Chopper” law, which allows hogs to be taken down from helicopters, has been in effect since 2011.
However, it is also illegal to discharge a firearm inside most city limits, meaning homeowners can’t just start shooting wild pigs found in their yards.
Matt Reidy, a Texas Parks & Wildlife biologist, advises non-hunters to refrain from feeding and interacting with the species.
“Like with deer, we recommend watching them from afar,” he said.
Woods of Shavano officials advise neighbors to contact law enforcement and animal control agencies if they spot the swine in their neighborhood, particularly if they pose a threat to any children and pets.
“Parents should let their children know to come into the house immediately if they see (a feral hog),” McDonald said.