What Are The Signs Feral Hogs Are On My Property?
In recent years, feral hog populations have grown and spread throughout Texas and beyond. Originally brought into the United States by early settlers, this non-native species damages any environment they plunder.
Their activities can threaten water quality, destroy native plants and crops, and imperil wildlife and livestock and their habitats.
As a rancher, knowing a feral hog population's behaviors and signs is the first step in developing a management strategy, such as a hog-proof fence installation, to get rid of them before they do significant damage.
To help you identify whether wild hogs have breached your property, here are some of the red flags for which to be on the lookout.
Rooting Activity - When wild hogs are hungry, they "root" to find food sources. This activity loosens and breaks up the surface and underlying soli column layers. It's worth noting that rooting behaviors can vary depending on the location and existing habitat, as well as the depth and size of the uprooted area. During dry spells, the rooting activity can be minimal.
For farmers or ranchers, rooting poses a severe threat to vulnerable crops, livestock, and wild game populations.
Wallows - During warmer and hot seasons, wild pigs establish wallows to help stay cool and defend against biting insects.
Popular spots for wallows include damp areas close to creeks, ponds, and sloughs where mud is abundant. It isn't uncommon for wild hogs to wallow throughout the day and defecate in the same place during times of extreme heat. Their waste threatens water quality by adding bacteria and pathogens to streams and water sources.
Rubs - When feral get done wallowing, they rub against fixed items to get rid of hair, dried mud, parasites, and insects. Places to check for rubbing activity include trees, fence posts, rocks, utility poles, and fallen trees - notably, those near wallows or water sources.
It's worth noting that feral hogs are attracted to utility poles with creosote treatments and utility poles within the hog's home range are likely to have visible rubs and markings.
Trails And Tracks - The paths and tracks left by feral hog provide helpful insights on sounder populations, including the general size of the wild hogs, the number of them, their travel path direction, and other behavioral patterns.
When searching for feral hog hoofprints, their tracks typically look rounded and register two toes. However, you may also notice the imprint of two dewclaws, which are smaller toes located higher on the leg. Highly traversed hog trails with an absence of vegetation indicate frequent use from marauding pig populations.
If you notate any of the telltale signs mentioned above on your Texas ranch, farm, or homestead, call the hog-proof fence experts at Lone Star Trapping today to deploy an ethical wild hog management strategy.