TEXAS (KXAN) — A study conducted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service reported a new tool has been successful in helping to reduce feral hog populations, according to a Thursday release.
The study revealed a warfarin-based toxicant was an effective means for landowners to help minimize feral hog population sizes and damage to their properties.
The hogs are responsible for millions of dollars each year in agricultural and property damages, while also negatively affecting native plant and animal species statewide. Estimates theorize there are more than three million feral hogs across Texas that account for more than $500 million in those damages each year.
Top leaders from the Department of Rangeland, Wildlife and Fisheries Management and the Texas Wildlife Services led the two-year study. It analyzed 23 sites across 10 counties within various portions of the state.
“Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service was tasked with evaluating the product’s ability to reduce feral hog numbers and damage in regions across the state and seasons of the year,” said Dr. John Tomeček, an associate professor and AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist. “We found that it can be highly effective when utilized correctly and saw no access to the toxicant by non-target species when all feeder devices functioned properly.”
The study tracked low-dose uses of the warfarin-based toxicant in the study fields to analyze its efficacy across different Texas regions, as well as “to assess the product’s ability to help landowners prevent property damage and economic harm from feral hogs,” per the release.
The AgriLife Extension specialists team worked with private landowners on recommended applications of the toxicant to help track its progress and determine best practices. The toxicant isn’t “considered acutely toxic to non-target animals,” nor is it believed to linger at lethal levels within the tissue of dead feral hogs, per the release.
Landowners applying the treatment consistently and accurately reported a sharp decline in feral hog population numbers and damages throughout the year compared to those who did not use the toxicant.
“This toxicant is a new tool to have in the toolbox as we deal with feral hog populations across the state,” Dr. Rick Avery, AgriLife Extension’s director, said in the release.