Y’all Are Just Too Country

Regarding your [May 2023] issue, Texas Monthly seems obsessed with all subjects related to rural Texas—ranchers, cowboys, and country and western entertainers. Though all of these are certainly parts of Texas culture and even deserve some nostalgia, they do not fully reflect the reality of Texas becoming more urban, with our cities, both large and small, offering all the educational and cultural amenities that can be found in such cities as Boston and San Francisco.  
Donald Sebasta, San Antonio 

Please Don’t Feed the Pigs

As a recent transplant from the Pacific Northwest, I was thrilled to see your article on the invasive feral hog infestation [“Swine Country,” May 2023]. I noticed that there was little mention of private landowners who feed wild hogs. Landowners can charge money for people to hunt the hogs, but feeding them perpetuates the crisis—and yes, there is a crisis here. 

I came from Oregon, a state that is mostly public land of one sort or another. Texas is about 95 percent private land. Trapping has its issues, and chemically neutering hogs seems pointless considering the birth rate. Poisoning them is problematic when other species are accidentally affected. Shooting pigs seems to be the most viable way to rid large numbers, and it should be encouraged across the state. I would place a bounty on every sow brought in. In my opinion, hogs should never be fed. If you are going to do that, they might as well be poisoned. I know that’s contradictory, but they are a scourge. 
Bill Andrews, New Braunfels 

Enlist the Mountain Lions

When we purchased our first one thousand acres of wildlife habitat on Lake Livingston in the nineties, we had a bad feral hog problem. We had boars that weighed  hundreds of pounds and had huge tusks. Trespassers had invaded our wildlife sanctuaries before we bought the land, but after we began our effort to keep these poachers out, our native predator population slowly recovered, including the occasional cougar. 

That caused our population of feral hogs to crash, making it difficult to even find one to hunt. We’ve been begging Texas Parks and Wildlife to reintroduce black bears to East Texas for decades; bears can take down a boar for a tasty snack. Even our twelve-year-old Boston terrier once spotted a mother hog followed by several newborn piglets. He leaped out of the window of our Ford F-350 and killed the closest piglet in 45 seconds and then chased the others into the woods to kill each of them in less than ten minutes total. 

It is legal in Texas to kill mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and foxes year-round. TPWD should only allow the killing of native predators by special permit and only if that predator is presenting a serious danger to humans and domestic animals. Continuing to allow the wholesale slaughter of the very animals that control feral hog populations at no cost is offensive to anyone with common sense. 
George H. Russell, Huntsville

This article originally appeared in the July 2023 issue of Texas Monthly. Subscribe today.