feral hogs | KERA News

feral hogs

At 2.6 million, there are more feral pigs in Texas than any other state. They do an estimated $52 million worth of damage to the state's agriculture. 

Ben Wheeler Fall Feral Hog Festival

(Update, Jan. 27: Brooks Gremmels died over the weekend.)

A few years ago, Brooks Gremmels escaped Dallas and retired to a tiny East Texas town called Ben Wheeler.

The place was falling down. Buildings were vacant. Roofs were gone. Doors were missing. Weeds grew in the sidewalks.

People didn’t have much hope for the Van Zandt County town. But Gremmels did.

“Maybe I could spend a little money and clean up the town," he thought.

So, parcel by parcel, the multimillionaire cleaned up Ben Wheeler.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is handling an increased demand for hunter education from Latinos.

In recent years, the department has begun offering the course in Spanish. The move not only reflects the changing demographics of the state, but could also help Texas combat one of its most unwelcome pests. 

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

Hogs are running rampant in Dallas. That's right -- parts of the nation's ninth-biggest city are beset by a plague of feral pigs. The problem's so bad that last month, the city approved a three-year, $284,000 contract to catch the beasts, which are wreaking havoc on land, especially in the southeast wilds near the Trinity River. So we took a ride with the city's official hog-catcher.