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Noble Foundation hosts Feral Hog Workshop at NCTC

Darin Allred | Apr 1, 2014

Feral hogs are among the most destructive invasive species in the United States today with anywhere from 2 to 6 million of the animals wreaking havoc. More than half are in Texas where they account for around $400 million in damages each year.

Farmers and ranchers seem to be suffering most.

Recently, the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation from Ardmore, Okla., sponsored a Feral Hog Workshop on the campus of North Central Texas College in Gainesville.

Speakers from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Wildlife Service and the Texas Extension Service were on hand to education farmers and ranchers on how they can help control the problem.

"The main thing is (feral hogs) are not a native species and the damage they cause to our native wildlife species and to agriculture add up to significant costs and health risks to humans and livestock alike," said Russell Stevens, a Wildlife and Range Consultant with the Noble Foundation.

Feral hogs cause many problems through their rooting, wallowing and destruction of food and water resources, but they also pose a health risk.

"There are many diseases that can be transmitted to humans either by handling and/or eating the meat," Stevens said. "Now the meat is safe to eat if you thoroughly cook it. Handling it, you need to wear gloves to avoid diseases that can enter your body through a cut on the hand. From the livestock standpoint, there are diseases that can be transmitted to the livestock that we are trying to raise."

Workshop participants learned about control methods including hunting, fencing, toxicants, predators and trapping.

Stevens said the workshop, which was held in North Texas for the first time, was successful.

"This facility really contributes a lot to that. NCTC has a great place to have this meeting and we are lucky to have that available to us," he added.

Stevens is a certified wildlife biologist by The Wildlife Society, a certified range management consultant by the Society for Range Management and a certified professional in rangeland management by the Society for Range Management.

You can contact Stevens at the Noble Foundation by email at rlstevens@noble.org.