Feral hog bounty program entices Central Texas hunters

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by MORGAN CHESKY / KVUE News and Photojournalist DATHAN HULL

kvue.com

Posted on October 16, 2012 at 10:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 17 at 7:24 AM

LULING, Texas -- Do you have what it takes to be a bounty hunter? Starting this week, several Central Texas counties will pay you to turn in tails. Feral hog tails, to be exact.

Out on the edge of Luling, in a town known for its oil and BBQ, the hogs are building a reputation of their own.

"It's hard on our equipment, it's hard on our crops, it's hard on the rancher," said Bonnie Dredla.

That rancher is Dredla's husband. The problem: Feral hogs and lots of them.

"They can cause quite a bit of damage," Dredla said. "It's kind of like driving through a road with a lot of potholes in it."

The hogs' only road is right through their fields trampling crops, digging ruts, uprooting the income the family relies on.

Statewide, agriculture officials blame the wild pigs for almost $600 million worth of damage.

Efforts to cut their population only grow. Last year the legislature approved hunting hogs from helicopters.

This October kicked off the third year of the Hog Out County Grant Program. Hunters in participating counties get $2 for every tail turned in. The county with the most wins $20,000 to spend on hog reduction.

"I think whenever you have too much of anything it usually causes a problem and we're witnessing problems like that," said Dredla, who says the only good thing she can say about hogs is, "They eat well."

An end result that's music to any meat lover's ears.

The first opportunity for hunters to cash in on the bounty is this Saturday. They can bring their hog tails by McCoys Building and Supply in San Marcos starting at 10 a.m.

One more thing: The tail collectors prefer them frozen.

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