Lake Brownwood State Park warns campers and hikers of feral hog encounters
LAKE BROWNWOOD, Texas —
According to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, there are 1.5 million feral hogs in Texas and they can be found in 230 out of the state's 256 counties.
Lake Brownwood State Park itself is being affected by the feral hog issue and the park's staff is now having to warn campers and hikers visiting this weekend for spring break that they may have a close encounter with a wild hog.
"We are just trying to let everyone know that they are here and be aware of it," Lake Brownwood State Park Superintendent John Holland said Friday.
The park's camping sites are booked until March 18, as most students are on break from school.
Holland said what prompted the warning were instances of the hogs becoming bolder and the hogs frequently being spotted along the park's hiking trails.
"Over the years, we've seen more and more," Holland said. "We've had more encounters between our visitors and the pigs on the trails."
On Thursday, Holland posted a photo of a feral hog on Lake Brownwood State Park's Facebook page.
Holland said that there has been a steady increase in the feral hog population during his 12-year tenure as park superintendent, but he's concerned about the damage that the hogs are doing to the park's vegetation.
"[They're] rooting up areas along the trails where they can actually cause accidents. Even somebody walking can trip over one of these rooted spots and injure themselves," Holland said.
Statistics by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service showed that feral hogs cause $52 million in damages annually to farming businesses.
Holland's advice for hikers who come across a feral hog is to treat the encounter as one would with any other kind of wild animal, by just leaving it alone.