Q&A: Answering your questions about wild Russian boars in Texas

Night hunting wild Russian boar.
Night hunting wild Russian boar. (Mike Bolen, East Texas Hog Doggers)

HOUSTON – KPRC2 viewers and Click2Houston users have been peppering us with questions around our story about the proliferation of wild Russian boars across our area and Texas.

We selected some of the most popular questions to answer.

Here's what we found out:

When did the hogs in Texas become Russian?

Domestic pigs first came to what is now Texas about 400 year ago with Europeans. Some got loose and adapted to living in the wild. Wild Russian boars were imported in the 1930s, 40s and 50s for sport hunting in Texas. Some escaped and started breeding with the feral pigs. Now we have gobs of wild Russian boar hybrids going hog wild in Texas.

What effect have the wild boars had?

This link has tons of information about the impact of feral hogs and Wild Russian Boar hybrids. They aren't native species and they are having a devastating impact on Texas natural resources.

Wild Russian Boars: Myths and realities

What's the law on hunting wild boars?

Hunting feral hogs does help trim their populations and chase them away from crops according to Mike Bodenchuk. He's the Director of the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Services Program. "In Texas there are no restrictions on hunting feral hogs. It's open year round. Nighttime hunting is effective and a lot of people take advantage of that not just to reduce the number but to also change their behavior and chase them away from crops."

Are the boars overpopulated?

Wild Russian Boar hybrids are VERY prolific. They can have three litters every two years with anywhere from 4 to 16 piglets each. According to Mike Bodenchuk, Director of the Texas Cooperative Wildlife Services Program, "Between 2006 and 2010 the population grew at an annual average of 21 percent per year. That means for the five years including 2006 and 10 the population more than doubled statewide."

Big game boar encounters: KPRC viewers share their feral hog stories

Is the meat safe to eat?

Texas Wildlife folks tell us the meat is safe to eat if it is harvested and properly processed. It also needs to be thoroughly cooked.

Is it too gamey?

You can eat the meat, but whether it's too gamey seems to be a matter of opinion. We visited with lots of hunters while doing research for this story. Some prefer the piglets to the really big boars. Many also remarked about how there is less meat on a feral hog or wild Russian boar than your typical barnyard pig and it doesn't taste like the pork you get at the supermarket. Pecan grower, Bill Archer, put it this way, "Once you get used to baby-back ribs or something like that, you're not really gonna be happy with these guys."

Do you have any recipes?

Funny you should ask! Click here for wild boar recipes!