They are applying for a $30,000 matching grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture, designed to encourage counties across the state to create partnerships to reduce the feral hog population and the damage caused by these animals in Texas.
Bell County is taking the lead in applying for the grant and each participating county will be contributing $6,000 and will receive a $6,000 match if our proposal is approved.
We’ve proposed to use part of the money to build traps that would be loaned to farmers and ranchers and to use the rest of the money for bounties and/or a hunt and destroy type program, so we’ll see whether our group’s application is approved, and if so what programs are implemented. Coincidentally I was in a meeting with our Public Health Preparedness Director Monica Stewart and she was pointing out the fact that these wild hogs can be the carriers of a number of diseases that people can get if they eat the meat if it is not properly cooked or if an individual comes in contact with an infected hog’s blood, fluids, or tissue (such as meat, liver, or other organs while field dressing, etc.).
The most common disease is brucellosis. Monica tells me that the symptoms include fever, chills, sweating, headache, low appetite, fatigue, joint and muscle pain.
The good news is that so far there are no known cases in humans in Milam County. Hunting wild hogs is a popular sport and as we might be about to get the county involved in these population control efforts, you should be aware that there can potentially be health problems associated with wild hogs.