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The Woodlands mulling ways to deal with growing feral hogs problem

THE WOODLANDS,Texas – Following the death of Christine Rollins 59, after what was believed to be an attack by a group of wild hogs in Chambers County, other communities are reporting problems with the animals and considering taking action regarding population control.

The Woodlands

Township leadership met this week in a public forum to hear residents concerned about safety issues and property damage caused by feral hogs. The problem and a possible, expensive fix was described by the community’s Board of Directors.

The most pertinent information is included below in this passage taken from the agenda for that meeting:

BACKGROUND

The Woodlands environment provides a great habitat for wildlife and most of the wildlife is embraced by The Woodlands’ homeowners. However, feral hogs create a nuisance situation when this natural habitat is located in proximity to neighborhoods. Depending on the time of year and weather conditions, the Township receives numerous complaints from neighborhoods, primarily those that are located close to creek areas or forest land such as Grogan’s Point, Indian Springs, Sterling Ridge, Creekside Park, Windvale and Windsor Hills. With these complaints come requests from residents that the Township trap the nuisance feral hogs and to install fencing across open space reserves and drainage easements. Up to this date, the Township has not trapped feral hogs but has relied on the County, the development company or the private property owners to provide the trapping and removal services.

FISCAL IMPACT

It is estimated that one feral hog trap will cost approximately $46,800 per year. Best practices indicate that a feral hog trapping program is on-going with a minimum of three years of regular trapping to stabilize a hog population in a given area. A community wide trapping program may require a minimum of six traps. Total estimated costs for trapping services is approximately $850,000 for the three-year period. It is estimated that wrought iron fencing costs approximately $25.00 per linear foot installed. The total linear footage to close open space reserves adjacent to known feral hog areas throughout the community is unknown, but projected to be in the thousands of linear feet. The linear footage of openings around Windsor Hills is estimated to be 400 lf. which if fenced, could cost approximately $10,000.

Conroe

The Artesian Forest subdivision within the city limits of Conroe is dealing with a similar problem. Several residents report ruined landscaping. No injuries have been reported. “It’s a legitimate problem there’s probably two, three groups hogs in this small patch of woods behind my house,” longtime resident Jerry Bird told KPRC

What’s next?

In Conroe’s Artesian Forest subdivision the answer is not clear. Although some residents appeared at the recent Woodlands public meeting, the area resides within another jurisdiction.

A cooperative agreement is in the works that may or may not include the area. Assistant General Manager of Community Services John Powers says The Woodlands leadership team will meet in January with various “stakeholders” with (possible) available funding that include MUDs, San Jacinto River Authority, Jones State Forest, Lone Star College and other groups to discuss a plan of action. Congressman Kevin Brady’s office said Friday that while this is a state and local issue, there may be funds available to combat the problem through the recently enacted Farm Bill which has a provision and funding to eradicable feral hogs in certain areas.