Wild hogs are invasive species that cause so much damage, especially to agricultural areas, costing the U.S millions each year. With Texas having the largest hog population, hunting feral pigs are popular. But can you hunt hogs in Texas without a license?
You don’t require a hunting license in Texas when hunting hogs on private lands. This law includes non-residents too. However, when on public lands, a hunting license is required. In the case of trapping hogs and hog hunting businesses, a hunting license is required, whether on private or public lands.
Can You Hunt Hogs in Texas Without a License?
You don’t need a hunting license in Texas to take hogs on private lands. As stated in Bill 317: “A resident landowner or the landowner’s agent or lessee may take feral hogs on the resident landowner’s land without having acquired a hunting license.”
However, this law changes in the case of:
- Hunting hogs on public lands
- Trapping hogs
- Hunting hogs for non-residents
- Paid hunts
Before passing Bill 317, a hunting license was required to take wild hogs. The only time a license wasn’t required was when the hunter had proof of the damage done by hogs. This only applied to landowners and landowners’ agents. So, you didn’t only need to provide proof of damage but also proof of being a landowner’s agent.
Hunting Hogs on Public Lands
The scenario is different regarding hunting wild pigs on Texas public lands. The state still requires a hunting license to hunt any animals on its public lands, including hogs.
While you’re allowed to hunt hogs without a license on private lands, you can’t trap or snare them without a valid Texas hunting license.
The reason is that trapping or snaring hogs can affect other wildlife species.
Hunting Hogs for Non-Residents
As stated in Bill 317: “A non-resident landowner or the landowner’s agent or lessee may take feral hogs on the non-resident landowner’s land without having acquired a hunting license required by this chapter.”
This means that even non-residents don’t need to carry a hunting license to hunt feral hogs on private properties. That’s why many non-resident hunters come to Texas to hunt hogs.
However, hunting hogs without the landowner’s consent is illegal unless you have a hunting license.
The new law allows hunting hogs on private property without a hunting license, whether it’s a paid hunt or not.
However, you must have a hunting lease license acquired from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department if you’re allowing access to hunting hogs in return for money.
This means businesses, such as hog hunting ranches or campsites, need a hunting lease license to keep on with their work.
Why Is Hunting Hogs So Popular in Texas?
Feral pigs reproduce at a fast rate. They have the highest reproductive rate of any ungulate. This explains their rapid spread across the United States.
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Increasing Population of Hogs in Texas
Hogs, also known as feral pigs, have the highest ungulate animal population in the U.S. It’s estimated that hogs have increased from 2.4 million to 6.9 million from 1982 to 2016.
Although hogs have expanded their range to most states, most of them can be found here in Texas. In 2016, over 2.6 million wild pigs were estimated to be living in Texas alone.
What’s more, the estimated damage cost done by hogs is about $2.5 billion annually. With the majority of the wild pig population, Texas struggles with the most damage.
Texas citizens appreciate every pair of hands that helps them keep hog numbers down.
With the new law regarding taking hogs without a license, including non-residents, it’s easier for everyone to fulfill their hunting adventures while helping to decrease the population of these wild ungulates.
Hog Hunting Camps and Ranches
Because Texas has a huge number of hogs, plus it’s legal to hunt them without a license, many businesses depend solely on hunting hogs.
Ranches and camping sites compete to provide customers with the best hog hunting experience. There are even helicopter companies that specialize in hog hunting.
No other state does it better than Texas regarding hog hunting. The state turned one of its worst enemies into a slew of businesses that offer once-in-a-lifetime hunting experiences.
What Are Some of the Damage Hogs Cause?
Many people, especially farmers, would love to eliminate all hogs. They create so much damage in almost all the states.
Wrecking Agricultural Fields
Hogs manage to consume large amounts of plant and animal material on farms, which costs farmers a lot.
They also tear fields apart by rooting, digging the ground, and turning the soil over looking for food. Rooting allows for the spread of invasive plants besides disturbing the nutrient cycling within the soil.
Contaminating Water Supplies
Farms and fields aren’t the only places that struggle due to hogs. Water supplies also are at threat of contamination because of them.
Hogs are major contributors to fecal coliforms in water supplies, representing a serious disease threat to humans, aquatic habitats, and other wildlife.
Wild Hogs FAQ
Is there a specific season for hunting hogs?
You can hunt hogs all year round in Texas. However, some hunters find that the best time to hunt feral pigs is from December to February, following deer season.
During that time, hogs are more active looking for food. They tend to need more food for extra energy in colder temperatures. So, the prime time for hunting hogs is during colder or freezing temperatures in the early morning or late night
What are the hunting requirements for hunting hogs?
While you don’t need a hunting license to hunt feral pigs in Texas, you still need proof of hunter education completion. This applies to Texas residents and out-of-state hunters as well.
The minimum age to apply for this certificate is nine years.
- Hogs create so much damage: tpwd.texas.gov
- Texas Senate Bill 317: legiscan.com
- Estimated damage cost done by hogs is about $2.5 billion annually: cnbc.com
- The battle to control America’s ‘most destructive’ species: feral pigs: nationalgeographic.com
- Feral hogs are overwhelming America’s Texas farmlands: youtube.com