Austin County is offering a bounty for feral hogs.
Last October the county budgeted $10,000 for a feral hog bounty program and on Jan. 13 the commissioners court unanimously approved the system by which the bounty will be offered.
“The best that we came up with is Steinhauser’s will participate in this program,” Commissioner Chip Reed said. “You can bring up to 20 pairs of ears from the hogs at one time, per household, per month. The reason I say that is because some of our counties around us have had problems with people coming with 250 pairs of ears at one time.”
He said he wanted the ears to prevent cheating.
“I’m doing ears because there’s a lot of pigs running around with no tails. I wanted to try and do it where it’s fair and honest enough,” he said.
According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, hogs tear up yards and fences, damage crops, and harm fragile ecosystems. Recently a woman in Chambers County was killed by wild hogs. It is estimated that Texas has 2.6 million feral hogs. The state allows them to be hunted year-round with no limit.
Reed said he created a form that hog hunters must fill out and include with their bounty. He said Steinhauser’s in Sealy is the lone outlet in the county participating in the program. He said the program will begin on Feb. 1 and go until it runs out of money.
“We’ll give 2,000 tickets to Steinhauser’s. When they run out of those tickets, there’s no more money to be paid. So it will go until the money’s depleted. We’ll see how this goes,” he said.
“Steinhauser’s going to forward the money first and then they’re going to turn in a receipt or an invoice on how much they spent and then we’re going to give it back.”
When the bounty is brought in, it is requested that the ears be appropriately bagged. Participants must also sign the form which declares that no hogs were intentionally bred for the program.