Friday, August 13, 2010

Feral Hogs On The Loose In Socorro County

By John Severance

Justin Stevenson of the USDA likens them to a four-legged fire ant.
Feral hogs have been spotted in the San Antonio and Socorro area along the Rio Grande and in Stevenson’s eyes, they are public enemy number one.
“They are very clever and very smart,” Stevenson said. “We have five traps out in the area. The density is low and it is going to take some time. It is almost a no-win situation. It’s almost impossible to totally eradicate the feral hog.”
Despite the traps having been set, no hogs have taken the bait – yet.
The Rio Grande Valley is the perfect place for the feral hog.
There is a lot of food with plenty of corn fields and alfalfa fields in the valley There is a continuous water source. And the Bosque is so thick, there are plenty of places for the hogs to hide.
Stevenson said most of the hogs are nocturnal.
“It would not be uncommon for a farmer to wake up in the morning and have his 10-acre alfalfa field in ruins,” Stevenson said.
But Stevenson also had a word of warning.
He is telling hunters if they see a pack of eight or 10 hogs not to shoot at them.
“They might get two or three, but the others will get away and become that much smarter,” Stevenson said.
So what’s the best thing to do if you see a feral hog?
Stevenson said try and take a photo of it and contact the USDA at 505 346-2640.
Stevenson said somebody released the feral hog for hunting purposes.
“We are guessing they were released somewhere between Escondida and San Antonio,” Stevenson said. “They like to migrate north and south up and down the river.”
According to Stevenson, the hogs are a cross between the domesticated pig and a European breed. And with the ideal living conditions for the hogs, one can be assured they also will reproduce at an alarming rate, Stevenson said.
As of now, Stevenson has no idea how many feral hogs are out there.
“We are evaluating the situation and trying to get as many eyes and ears out there looking for them,” Stevenson said.

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