The global bacon shortage was a myth. The feral hog explosion in the state of Texas isn’t.
And so, for the third straight year, the Department of Agriculture has declared October “Hog Out” month in Texas, and will pay people for bringing home the wild bacon.
The “Hog Out” County Grant Program includes both a $2-per-hog bounty and a feral hog education program, with grant money for hog-reduction going to the top three counties in the program. Last year’s winner was Hardeman County, with 2,047 porkers bagged.
As Ciara O’Rourke of the Austin American-Statesman reported, you don’t have to reside in a particular county to collect, but need to be able to provide information on approximately where the hog was killed. To cash in on your hunts, hold on to those hog tails in a “sealed transparent plastic baggie,” preferably frozen.
(Louisiana has a similar program to encourage hunters to kill nutria, a large, semi-aquatic rodent that feasts on the roots of swamp plants, leading to wetland erosion. The state’s Coastwide Nutria Control Program is more generous than Texas’s hog program, paying out $5 per tail.)
According to the Department of Agriculture, the state is currently home to an estimated 2.6 million feral hogs, the largest population in the United States. The program runs until December 31.
For more on Texas feral hogs, dip into the Texas Monthly archives:
- In the August, 2011 issue, writer Phillip Meyer and photographer Jody Horton wrote about hunter/butchers Tink Pinkard and Jesse Griffiths’ hog school, “a field-to-table course that [shows] students how to hunt and butcher a feral hog, then prepare a dozen dishes. Think Ted Nugent meets Emeril Lagasse.”
- That same month at Texasmonthly.com, writer Sonia Smith went “pork chopping,” as the practice of shooting feral hogs from a helicopters became known around the Texas legislature, which made it legal for individual sport hunters during the last session.
You can also see a photo gallery from Meyer and Horton’s story, and watch video of Smith below: