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Lavaca and Goliad counties among winners of state Hog Out Challenge


March 6, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 5, 2012 at 9:06 p.m.

Lavaca and Goliad counties were among the top five winners of the Texas Department of Agriculture's 2011 Hog Out Challenge. Statewide, 12,632 hogs were removed during the three-month event.

Two Crossroads counties ranked among the top in Texas for the second annual Hog Out Challenge.

Lavaca County placed third and Goliad County fifth in the Texas Department of Agriculture event, which encourages counties to lower feral hog populations.

Hardeman County took first-place honors.

The animals are a costly nuisance across the state, not only to agricultural operations and wildlife habitats, but to travelers, too, Todd Staples, the state agriculture commissioner, said in a news release. More and more, they find their ways into urban areas, he added.

"I have put feral hogs on the Texas 'most wanted' list," he said in the release. "We need to track down these destructive pests and eliminate them."

Statewide, 12,632 hogs were removed during the three-month period.

The 2011 challenge was based on a point system and counties received credit for each hog removed, as well as for each person who attended hog abatement educational programs, said Shannon Deforest, Lavaca County extension agent.

Lavaca County caught 1,512 hogs, Deforest said, noting 949 were trapped, 426 shot and 137 caught with dogs. In total, 107 people attended educational programs.

"Credit should go to the community for coming out to our educational programs, and to the folks willing to provide us verification," Deforest said. "It did take quite a bit of effort on several people's part."

The $10,000 Lavaca County took in must go toward feral hog abatement strategies, he said, noting a commission will meet within the next couple of weeks to determine how to best utilize the funds.

The 1,010 feral hogs caught in Goliad County helped it cinch its win and the $7,500 that went along with it, said Brian Yanta, Goliad County extension agent.

"We're tickled that we did so well, and it being our first year," he said.

Yanta said he has no complaints about coming in fifth, but said the county could have possibly done even better. Once results came out, he said several people reported additional hogs captured.

Goliad County's money will go toward updating traps and in contracting the county trapper to focus solely on hogs for 21 working days.

The county will also increase its bounty from the $1 per captured hog, which it enacted last year, to $5.

"It may go very quick at the $5, but at least it's extra money we weren't able to spend otherwise," Yanta said.



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