Ever since feral hogs killed her favorite dog, Yvonne Bouchard, who lives near Diana, has been hoping to get the wild pigs in her deer rifle sights.
She said Weazie came to her as a stray about five years ago, and Ms. Bouchard, who had come to East Texas to care for her mother, adopted the dog.
She said Weazie had on occasion jumped the back-yard fence and taken a run, but never went on the highway and was very reliable about coming back.
“She was very well behaved,” Ms. Bouchard said. “Recently, she began jumping the fence in the morning, but not often and not running far, wanting only to play with whomever she happened into and always coming back.”
On one recent morning, Weazie did not return.
Ms. Bouchard on her riding lawn mower and a neighbor on a 4-wheeler searched for the dog.
“The neighbor came to me after a bit and said, ‘I found her. Let me bury her. You don’t want to see her. The hogs got her and she’s in pretty bad shape.’”
Ms. Bouchard insisted on seeing the beloved pet.
“She had her guts literally ripped out of her body,” she said. “Every organ was gone—down to the bone of the other side.”
She said the dog was found not far from her back yard. She said she had been told that the hogs came closer this year because of the flood waters.
“More than likely, she went to play and instead of a friendly sort, she ran into a vicious killer,” Ms. Bouchard said of the dog.
She said she now feels like she has to help “take care of a problem that has apparently been going on in East Texas for some time now—that of an epidemic feral hog problem.
“Farmers lose their crops to them. Hay fields are rooted up. Livestock are killed on a daily basis.”
She said farmers and ranchers have faced this problem for some time, but there is no help in sight.
She praised George and Jeff Dodd, who organized a countywide hog hunt last April and have another one planned for next February. She said they need volunteers, and she plans to be in on it.
She said she learned that there is no government money for animal control, and that fees for farmers to get help are out of their range.
“The farmers are responsible for setting traps and some hunt them, but the hog numbers are only growing,” she said she had learned.
“I found out that not only is the population growing, but it was known that at one time several in our own community would bring hogs in and set them loose for other hunters,” Ms. Bouchard said.
“To add to the fire, someone else seemed to think adding a few Russian wild boars to the horde was the thing to do. The numbers are growing. It is estimated that there are 2 million of them in the East Texas area alone and we only killing off 2 percent per year. The rest are left to breed and renew that 2 percent and then some.”
Ms. Bouchard said she had heard of one man who was on a walk with his grandson when a hog attacked him and grabbed the calf of the man’s leg.
She said she had asked help from someone at Canton, but the hog problem in that area is so bad that they can’t come because they are overwhelmed with the wild animals there.
She said she plans to seek help from U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) and State Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola).
She said a man from Stephen F. Austin State University said that the government has given money to bring in black bears to help solve the problem, but she is afraid that will create more problems.
A Google search for “feral hogs” shows that it is not just a Texas problem, but most states have problems with the beasts.
They carry many diseases dangerous to livestock and humans.
A posting on the web site of the Missouri Department of Conservation advises “shoot on sight” any wild hogs one might encounter.
Anyone who wants to help her, either by signing a petition to get government funding to fight the hog problem or in other ways may contact her at her e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org.