Houston-area subdivision facing feral hogs issue
HOUSTON With as many as two million feral hogs in the state of Texas, the state's agriculture department declared October as "Hog Out" month, challenging counties like Fort Bend to curve the ongoing problem. At Riverstone, residents say it's a problem that's only getting worse. Among the pretty pictures you'll find inside Fort Bend County's Riverstone, there's one that's not so pretty. "It's very frustrating," Ricky Stephens said. Stephens has experienced it firsthand. For the second time in a week, feral hogs have hit his yard. They've torn up his flower beds, uprooted his grass and even rolled away this big rock in the process. "They're very large," Stephens said. "They're bigger than my dog there." And Stephens is sick of them. "I'm tired of paying to have it fixed," he said. Like most of Texas, feral hogs have become a big and costly nuisance here. A resident trapped one. Another took a photo of two piglets. There are more damaged yards and in March, SkyEye recorded video of a sow with her piglets walking and feasting. "When you're a homeowner and you get hit, obviously it hits home," Tom Wilcox with the Riverstone Homeowners Association said. Riverstone's Homeowners Association says it's doing everything it can to keep the unwanted wildlife out. "To date we've put up 3,000 linear feet of fence around this one particular subdivision in the gaps and areas where hogs are coming in, and they kind of move from one another to another area so we fence one area and all of a sudden we move to another area," Wilcox said. Stephens thinks they should do more. "They need a wrought iron fence," he said. But for now, he'll forgo sleep. "I come out here with my spotlight and shine it around," Stephens said. And maintain the measures he's taken. "I've got an electric fence put up here," Stephens said. "I've got a motion detector up in my tree." And it's all to prevent one more of the feral hogs. Stephens says he recognizes that near the Brazos River is the hogs' natural habitat. The HOA says it can't regulate wild animals and suggests that homeowners constantly treat their yards. To put this in perspective, Riverstone is made up of about 1,500 homes, and the HOA says only 20 so far have been affected.