Weatherford Democrat

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November 3, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: Going hog wild and crazy

By LARRY M. JONES

I suppose it’s human nature for each person to feel that his or her personal needs are greatest and most important. Not a day goes by that I do not see on television newscasts or read in the paper about individuals or groups demanding that their personal agendas receive immediate attention by government officials or agencies. Without doubt many such needs are worthy of public attention, but I personally feel that perhaps these folks should work a little harder at solving their own problems.

The government was initially designed to support needs beyond the scope of individual responsibility. National defense, road building, police protection, mail delivery and other large-scale services are required to provide for needs beyond individual capability.

For more than 150 years my ancestors and I have taken care of most of the daily problems down on the “pore farm” without help from others. Years ago there were a few government programs that provided welcome assistance to farmers and ranchers, but sadly most government involvement today is regulatory oversight and restrictions.

One area where government help is critically needed today is for control of feral hogs. In recent years, we have been plagued with this new and growing problem that appears to be beyond the scope of individual resolve. Feral hogs are becoming a nightmare in much of Texas and the nation.

According to the AgriLife Extension Service, almost 80 percent of Texas land has them, with an estimated population between 1.9 million and 3.4 million in Texas alone. More than 5 million are estimated to be in the U.S. That number is rapidly growing, and officials project that the population doubles every five years. 

Although once a problem for only farmers and ranchers, feral hogs have literally moved to town. Damage to urban lawns, parks, golf courses, sports fields and cemeteries is becoming significant. The Extension Service estimates a single hog causes more than $200 per year in damages.

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