From now until spring green-up is one of the best times of the year to control wild pigs, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service expert. One factor is that hungry wild pigs are on the move and more likely to be out in the open to forage for food this time of year, said Dr. Billy Higginbotham, AgriLife Extension fisheries and wildlife specialist, Overton.

Wild pigs, aka feral hogs, browse wooded areas, graze pastures and root up planted crops for food, Higginbotham said. They also scavenge and raid deer-feeder sites. From January through spring green-up, many of these food sources are not as available.

“Native foods such as acorns disappear as winter wears on, and many deer hunters do not continue to supplement their deer population after hunting season,” Higginbotham said. “As a result, the wild pigs will be increasingly on the move and more susceptible to baiting as they search for food.”

Another reason to step up control efforts of wild pigs this time of year has to do with the animals’ breeding behavior, he said.

“Wild pigs are one of the most prolific large mammals in the world,” Higginbotham said.

According to a 2011 study, the average age of a sow having her first litter is about 13 months, he said. Mature sows will have an average of 1.5 litters per year, and the average litter size is 5.6 piglets.

“Though sows can have litters any month of the year, there always seems to be a peak in farrowing during the early spring,” Higginbotham said. “This is an added incentive for landowners to strike as soon as possible before even more pigs hit the ground.”

Landowners have the choice of several control methods for wild pigs. These include trapping, snaring, dogging and shooting, both aerially and on the ground, he said. But because of the large amount of cover afforded by forest and brush in many parts of Texas, trapping and shooting remain the most effective options for landowners in such areas.