Practicality is a defining characteristic of Texans.
And as a state full of do-ers, perhaps it is no surprise state and local officials frequently take matters into their own hands to come up with real time resolutions for various problems – especially when it comes to wildlife irritations.
Hogging the latest news on solutions to control wild nuisance animals is Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s recent announcement approving sale of Kaput Feral Hog Lure to combat the rampant wild pig population across the state.
The warfarin-based poison bait, which dyes the pigs’ fat layer blue and can cause animals to bleed to death in high concentrations, will require a license to purchase, and many are hopeful the lethal solution will help to limit costly damage caused by the swine in Texas parks and farms – an estimated $52 million, according to Miller’s press release on the decision.
However, even with safeguards and promising outlooks, a number of wildlife and agriculture officials are concerned with how poisoned hogs will affect the Texas ecosystem.
“Studies show that rodents and raptors can be affected through primary and secondary consumption of warfarin,” Josh Havens, communications director for Texas Parks and Wildlife, said in a statement to Houston Public Media.
The Texas Hog Hunters Association also expressed their concerns with poisoning hogs, given the growing demand for the wild pork in high-end restaurants throughout the country:
“If this hog is poisoned, do I want to feed it to my family?” Eydin Hansen, vice president of the association, said in a statement to CBS 11 in February. “If a hog dies, what eats it? Coyotes, buzzards…we’re going to affect possibly the whole ecosystem.”
Furthermore, Texas isn’t the first jurisdiction to use warfarin to control the feral hog population, but other places have tested then rejected the plan: Australia tried the chemical solution for a time and ultimately banned its use after 98 percent of a sample hog population was wiped out by its effects between July and September 1987.
The Kaput manufacturer said it will not be selling the pig poison until Texas adopts application rules, so there’s still time for you to participate in the democratic process and oppose Miller’s approval if you don’t like the sound of it.
Meanwhile, like the wildlife commissioner, local officials in Sweetwater have taken what some would describe as drastic measures to get their concentrated nuisance problem under control.
Known far and wide as the Rattlesnake Roundup, patrons of the annual event get to see the effects of vigilante wildlife control for themselves, after hunters made a spectacle of their efforts to capture and kill the rattlesnakes that once overran their West Texas community nearly 60 years ago.
This National Geographic video depicts the glorified annual affair pretty fairly:
Animal cruelty and visceral concerns aside, the Roundup brought over $8.3 million to the Sweetwater economy in 2015, and the snake’s poisonous “milk” is reportedly sold to pharmaceutical companies to help research bites and produce antivenin.
And people seemed to enjoy themselves at this year’s event:
Whatever you decide, just remember that finding a two-bodied, one-headed hog on a hunt or rattlesnakes in your toilet is the stuff of nightmares, but all very real in Texas – where anything practical goes.