Hays County, in partnership with Caldwell County, will be raising awareness for a unique cause starting this October.
“Hog Out” is a Plum Creek Watershed Partnership program sponsored by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The program aims at controlling the feral hog population throughout counties across the state.
Beginning Oct. 1 and continuing through Dec. 31, residents will be awarded $2 per hog tail brought in from feral hogs killed in Hays and Caldwell Counties.
Mark Jones, Hays County Precinct 2 commissioner, said feral hogs cause damage to peoples’ yards and contribute to water quality issues.
Jones said $1,500 is being set aside from the commissioners’ and judge’s office accounts for special projects to fund the $2 tail bounty. He said anyone can shoot the hogs and a hunting license is not required.
“It is open season, and you can shoot them any time,” Jones said. “Please do.”
Nick Dornak, Plum Creek watershed coordinator, said more than 20 counties are participating in the competition-style program this year. Hays and Caldwell counties are hosting the 3-year-old program for the first time.
John Cyrier, Caldwell County Precinct 1 commissioner, said Plum Creek watershed presented the idea to the Caldwell County Commissioners Court a couple months ago. The court voted and agreed to pass the proposal based on the success of other counties that have implemented the program in the past.
Participating counties will be awarded points based on hogs killed and attendance at training and educational workshops. Dornak said each county will receive one point per person who attends an event and five points for every 10 hog tails.
The three counties earning the most points will receive $10,000, $15,000 and $20,000 grants, respectively, provided by the Texas Department of Agriculture to implement a long-term program.
The remaining counties will receive funds based on the amount of hog tails turned in, Dornak said. He would like to have a grand prize for the most hogs turned in to each county, as well as door prizes for participants.
Dornak said volunteers are still needed to help document and verify the hogs when citizens turn in tails. Plum Creek uses this information for data collection.
There will be two volunteer training sessions for Hays County Oct. 2 at the Hays County Extension Office from 6 to 7 p.m. There will also be a training session Oct. 3 at the Cypress Creek Cafe in Wimberley from 6 to 7 p.m.
Dornak said he hopes hunters will devour the kills after they are verified through respective counties.
“There is no stipulation on that. It is just what we hope they do,” Dornak said. “I have eaten (feral hogs) before and they are lean, good pork.”
Training, education and other event information for this year’s Hog Out can be found on the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership website.