Bow hunting could stop hog problem

March 11, 2009 5:07:56 PM PDT
Wild hogs are running amuck at one of Houston's biggest parks.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Now one county commissioner has come up with an idea that he thinks would help keep down the population of feral hogs. It involves bows, arrows and feeding the hungry.

As rural areas are transformed into subdivisions and parks, feral hogs are coming into contact with people and the people don't like it. While this is not a unique problem to Harris County, the idea of how to take care of it could be. The estimated population of feral hogs in Texas is in excess of 1.5 million animals. Plenty of those roam west Harris County along the bayous, near homes, George Bush Park and at a shooting range.

"In the park, by the side of the road, they are eating on the various grass and when they start coming through they move in large numbers," said hunter Thomas Dowdy.

Large enough that in the past five months, the county has caught 80 hogs in two live traps at the park. But experts say that the population is too large to rely on trapping alone. That's caused the officials at Precinct Three to come up with a unique way of dealing with the problem. The idea involves arming a handful of select hunters with bows and turning them loose in the area.

"[The bows are] just safer, you have more control and range of how far the projectile can travel," said Mike McMahon who is the Precinct 3 Coordinator.

The hunting would be in remote areas of the park. The plan calls for no more than four hunters at the time. Gun marksmen may debate the weapon, but not the need to address the problem.

"A child can walk up on a plain old sow with no tusks and if she is running 100 pounds or more, she could probably kill a child," said one hunter.

Harris County Precinct Three Commissioner Steve Radack proposes that the meat harvested from the hunted hogs be given to the Houston Food Bank.

Depending on the red tape involved, the plan could go into effect in as little as two weeks.

Although the hogs are not classified as game animals, a hunting license is required to hunt them.

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