(KCEN) -- Feral hogs have cost central Texas farmers and home owners thousands of dollars in damage.
They contaminate water sources, destroy fences and tear up crops.
That's especially true in Coryell County.
But a new statewide bounty program has many central Texans killing the pigs. Now, a feral menace has become a way to make money.
"You've killed how many hogs you think? Oh, over 150 easy."
When Paul Hopson noticed that feral hogs were destroying his corn and wheat, he took matters into his own hands.
Once Hopson heard of the bounty program in Coryell County, he was able to catch and kill 50 feral pigs. At ten dollars a tail. He made five hundred dollars and still had more pigs.
He said, "I had another 20 so or more but they ran out of money."
Coryell County Commissioner Don Jones said, "Half to three fourths of my time has been spent on this program."
Jones says that last year between October 1 and December 31, Coryell County was responsible for killing 891 hogs, well surpassing the $5,000 that was budgeted for the bounty program. But even that isn't enough.
He said, "We're gonna make a dent in em, but there is no way we are gonna get rid of all of them with the way they multiply."
David Fincher of Fincher's Body Shop in Gatesville, said, "Believe it or not, a small pig underneath a foreign car does a lot of damage."
He says that the pig population is so big in Coryell County that he gets two cars a month that have front end damage from hitting a hog on the road. That often causes thousands of dollars in damage.
Fincher said, "Your natural instinct is to dodge something in the road. But the best thing to do is to keep going straight and just, ya know, hit it."
Out of 252 counties in Texas, feral hogs affect everyone. Texas Parks and Wildlife estimates close to 2 and half million hogs in all. Some carry pseudo rabies or swine brucellosis. Worst of all, they multiply quickly, and in big numbers.
Biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife Derrick Wolter said, "Within a year, you can take two hogs. They could have 10. Six months later they could have some. 115 days later they can breed and produce another 70 to 80 animals."
Because feral hogs are omnivores, they'll eat anything from brush to small goats, which worries farmers. And some biologists say that where there is water, there are feral hogs.
Although Hopson was able to put a dent in the hog population, he's had an extra 21 hogs the county couldn't take off his hands.
He said, "They stink and they're dirty. But they taste pretty good. I guess if you put enough barbeque sauce on anything they'll taste pretty good."
Hopson is keeping his crops safe, while literally bringing home the bacon.
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