Residents, officials talk about strategies to control feral hogs in The Woodlands

Carlos Wehby was one of several residents in The Woodlands who spoke about feral hogs at the Dec. 4 board meeting.
Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper
Carlos Wehby was one of several residents in The Woodlands who spoke about feral hogs at the Dec. 4 board meeting. Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper

Carlos Wehby was one of several residents in The Woodlands who spoke about feral hogs at the Dec. 4 board meeting. Vanessa Holt/Community Impact Newspaper

Feral hogs have been a destructive and potentially dangerous nuisance to residents of Windsor Hills and other neighborhoods in The Woodlands, said a group of about two dozen residents who attended a Dec. 4 board of directors meeting to ask for a solution.

Residents said a key issue is gaps in fences through which the hogs are gaining admittance to the neighborhood. The fences are on private property and therefore cannot be repaired by the township, said John Powers, assistant general manager for community services in The Woodlands.

Rob Miller, president of the Windsor Hills Homeowners Association board of directors, said the hogs have visited the neighborhood almost every night since June.

“Most of what they’ve done is damage,” Miller said. “They’ve also scared a lot of folks ... it’s [a] 55 and over [community].”

Miller said residents are cautious about walking after dark and are also concerned for high school students who run through the area early in the morning. More than 40 homes have been damaged by the hogs, he said.


“You never know where they’re going to hit. ... We’re out of solutions with what we can do within Windsor Hills,” Miller said.

Powers said the hogs have been a problem for several years, but several circumstances made this a particularly bad season.

“This has been a great year crop for acorns, and with live oak trees and acorns in abundance, they’re out taking easy pickings,” Powers said.

The township does not budget for trapping services for wildlife, and the cost of maintaining one trap was estimated at $46,800 per year in 2017, with a minimum of three years necessary to stabilize a hog population in an area, according to materials on the township website. According to the township, a community trapping program with six traps over a three-year period would cost about $850,000.

The meeting materials state that Texas AgriLife Extension Service reported an estimated 2.5 million feral hogs in Texas that cause about $50 million in annual agricultural damage, not including residential damage.

The agenda materials also state that property owners in Texas are legally able to trap or kill feral hogs on their property without a hunting license if the hogs are causing damage. However, a hunting license would be required if traps or snares are used.

Various entities in the area have placed traps on their property, such as Lone Star College and W.G. Jones Forest—which trapped 40 hogs in recent months, Powers said. The Woodlands Development Company and several apartment complexes have also put out traps. However, 70% of the feral hog population has to be removed annually to keep the population from growing because they reproduce so quickly, Powers said.

A female of the species—sus scrofa—can give birth to two litters of six to eight piglets each year, he said.

One way the township could increase its ability to take action against the hogs on property it does not own is to work with Montgomery County officials. Board of directors Chairman Gordy Bunch said a neighboring municipal utility district—MUD No. 67—may be able to provide access, and Director Ann Snyder said she has recently talked to Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley about potentially working on a solution.

Township officials said they are working with state forest representatives to create educational programs to inform residents about hogs and available control measures.
By Vanessa Holt
A resident of the Houston area since 2011, Vanessa began working in community journalism in her home state of New Jersey in 1996. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2016 as a reporter for the Spring/Klein edition and became editor of that paper in March 2017 and editor of The Woodlands edition in January 2019.


MOST RECENT

Fewer than 500 COVID-19 patients—478—are currently checked in at Texas Medical Center hospitals. (Community Impact staff)
Texas Medical Center COVID-19 hospitalizations drop 30% in three weeks

Fewer than 500 COVID-19 patients—478—are currently checked in at Texas Medical Center hospitals.

Materials for the Houston Planning Commission meeting scheduled Sept. 17 showed map views of Mitchell Island, where The Howard Hughes Corp. has plans to build 58 houses. (Courtesy Houston Planning Commission)
Opposition to high-density housing on Mitchell Island spurs discussion at The Woodlands meeting

After resident outcry against a possible high-density residential development on Mitchell Island, The Woodlands Township agreed to place the item on an October meeting agenda.

Conroe and Montgomery County firefighters assigned to Strike Team 143 are assisting California departments with containing Creek Fire, the largest single fire in California's history. Crews from the Porter Fire Department are assigned to the August Complex, which is the largest fire in the state's history, as of Sept. 23. (Courtesy Conroe Fire Department)
Montgomery County firefighters battle largest single wildfire in California’s history

Creek Fire has ravaged 289,695 acres, damaged 71 structures and destroyed 855 others. Exhausted from fighting the fire, Strike Team 143 may need a new crew rotation this weekend.

The Howard Hughes Corp. purchased The Woodlands Towers at The Waterway in December while Paul Layne was CEO. (Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corp.)
Howard Hughes Corp. CEO Paul Layne retires after year that saw company move HQ to The Woodlands, purchase of former Occidental towers

The CEO for The Howard Hughes Corp., which develops The Woodlands, The Woodlands Hills and Bridgeland in the Greater Houston area, announced this retirement this month.

Gov. Greg Abbott on July 27 issued an executive order extending the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Lawsuit takes aim at start date for early voting as some Texas Republicans challenge Gov. Greg Abbott's order

A group of prominent Texas Republicans has embarked on a legal effort to undo the governor's executive order that extended the early voting period for the Nov. 3 election.

(Courtesy The Republic Grille/Liz Grimm Public Relations)
Republic Grille opens in Spring and more Houston-area news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news here.

October events in The Woodlands area include a fall festival in Oak Ridge North. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Fall festival, trick or treat: 3 activities scheduled in The Woodlands area in October

Fall events are still on throughout The Woodlands area, though modifications are promoting social distancing.

(Courtesy The Republic Grille/Liz Grimm Public Relations)
The Republic Grille opens third location in Spring

The new location is serving dinner seven days a week with plans to open for lunch in the coming weeks.

Texas Central
Texas Central Railroad bullet train project receives rulings on safety framework, selected alignment

Construction for the high-speed bullet train system is slated to begin in the first half of 2021 and to be completed in 2027.

The deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 5. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Here's how to register to vote in Montgomery County

Find out early voting dates and the deadline to register.