Township officials approved $25,000 during the meeting to engage a wildlife management consultant to come up with a comprehensive plan to control the hog population. However, Chairperson Gordy Bunch said he believes the problem is one that does not rest solely on the township's shoulders.
"I do think that we will do what we can do to move things forward, but we are going to have to put pressure on the county to take a more proactive approach," he said. Bunch said the responsibility for controlling feral hogs falls on landowners, and some of the areas in which the hogs are present are owned by Montgomery County or other entities, meaning that the township cannot take action on those properties.
Eleven people signed up to speak on the issue at the meeting, including several from the Windsor Hills neighborhood, which has also been affected by feral hog incursions. That neighborhood saw conditions improve after the construction of a fence at points where the hogs were gaining admittance.
Rob Miller, a resident of Windsor Hills and the president of its homeowners association, said the township partnered with the neighborhood to put up the fence there. He previously attended the Dec. 4 meeting to raise his neighborhood's concerns.
"We have not had any more feral hog activity," he said. "We are all fenced off except for [the] main entrance."
Linda Estrada, a Grogan's Point resident, said the animals in her neighborhood were still both harming the ecosystem and disrupting residents' ability to safely enjoy the neighborhood and other outdoor recreation.
"The hogs stand and stare as if they have no fear of humans," she said.
John Powers, assistant general manager for community services in The Woodlands, said two information sessions on the issue are planned for the public in February.
The first is part of the township's Walk in the Woods series. "Feral Hogs in a Suburban Landscape" will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park, 6055 Creekside Forest Drive, The Woodlands. It will be free, but registration will be required on the township website when a signup link can be established, Powers said.
A Going GREEN lecture, "Feral Swine: Challenges and Control" will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at Houston Advanced Research Center, 8801 Gosling Road, Spring. The event will be free, and registration is required. The speaker will be Chris Watts, a wildlife damage management biologist in the Collese Station district office of the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension-Texas Wildlife Services Program.
Other measures will include working with governmental and private entities in the area to strategize trap placement and other measures that can prevent hogs from entering neighborhoods, Powers said.