- The Washington Times - Monday, May 2, 2005

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Wild hogs are mangling fields and pastures with their razor-sharp tusks. They’re wrecking ecosystems by wallowing in streambeds. They’re even killing and eating smaller animals.

In short, the nation’s largest feral hog population is making a mess of Texas.

Farmers and ranchers — who sustain an estimated $52 million annually in damage at the snouts of the rapidly growing wild hog population — are asking the Legislature and hunters for help controlling the estimated 2 million animals.

“Bring an AK-47, because that’s what you’ll need,” Canton cattle rancher Don Metch said.

The hogs are descendants of domestic pigs brought to America in the 1600s by French and Spanish explorers, and of Eurasian boars brought for hunting in the early 1900s. They can grow to 400 pounds and have four fierce-looking tusks that can extend five inches from their top and bottom jaws. Feral hogs are found in 230 of Texas’ 254 counties.

The Texas Department of Agriculture has asked legislators for $500,000 to start a two-year pilot program to study the hogs in hopes of controlling them. In the meantime, Texas relies on its year-round hunting season.

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