KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
November 11, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
Many wild animals call Katy home, and they frequently get close to residents and their property. Feral hogs, especially, continue to be a local problem, but efforts are being taken to control their growing population and curb the destruction they cause.
Photo courtesy: Ryan Morone
“Efforts are being made on multiple fronts to combat the feral hog problem in our area,” says Wendy Duncan, Director of Willow Fork Drainage District.
Last year a woman in Chambers County was killed by a group of feral hogs while out walking her dog. Fortunately, aggressive behavior has not been reported in Katy. However, with the amount of property damage, and the number of hogs growing, many local residents are concerned.
Feral hogs are known to come out from George Bush Park and the Barker Reservoir and enter Katy neighborhoods like Cinco Ranch, Kelliwood, and more. The soccer fields in the park and the golf course at Willow Fork Country Club have both experienced excessive damages.
Drone footage of Willow Fork Golf Course; Photo courtesy: Ryan Morone
Feral Hogs Damaging Local Property
Duncan advises, “Protect your yard from hog damage by treating for grub worms and removing acorns.”
“When you see the damage, you know you have hogs and danger,” says Kelliwood resident Jim Blakey.
Katy resident Jake Floyd said his parents have experienced damage in their Kelliwood yard.
“I literally hit three of them with my truck,” says Jake Floyd. “They are on Fry Road.”
“While walking the family dog around the neighborhood one morning, after two consecutive nights of feral hog damage, it became evident that our beautiful neighborhood would not be so beautiful if we continued to let the hogs roam the neighborhood at night,” says Cinco Ranch resident Ryan Morone. “Something had to be done.”
Residential damage from feral hogs. Photo courtesy: Ryan Morone
Population Growing Rapidly
Each feral hog sow is capable of two-to-three litters a year with each litter resulting in around 12 offspring.
“They can mate anytime, especially in this climate,” says Blakey.
Neighbors like Blakey, Morone, and others are taking matters into their own hands to catch these hogs.
“25 feral hogs have been captured in the Cinco Ranch area thus far,” says Duncan. “This particular sounder is estimated to have about 40-50 pigs. This short-term solution has been led primarily by Ryan Morone, and financially supported by him and his neighbors.”
Trapping the Hogs
Enclosed traps are set up at approved locations with corn for bait. The WFDD helped by giving permission to trap on their property and Fort Bend County Precinct 3 coordinated the process to get the county’s permission to trap on county land.
Blakey is also working on long-term solutions. He started a steering committee of concerned residents who all wish to address this issue. To get involved or find out more about the committee, email Hogs.BushPark@gmail.com.
Duncan has also reached out to local politicians to gain support for helping this growing problem. A representative with Congressman Pete Olsen’s office has already responded.
A long-term solution will also need to include a way to fund the removal of the hogs.
“I applaud everyone that has stepped forward to lead in their actions to provide immediate solutions while working towards longer-term permanent solutions at the local, county, state, and federal level," says Blakely.
“This is not just a local issue but it’s a statewide issue,” says Floyd.
Still, the issue continues to grow and affect Katy neighborhoods.
Neighbors Encouraged to Report Damage
“The key is for us is get in touch with those neighborhoods promptly so we can track the hogs and set up traps to give them relief,” says Morone. “The hog population in the neighborhoods can be dealt with mechanical traps. However, the hog population that resides upstream in George Bush Park is extreme and more substantial. Long-term solutions (i.e. infrastructure) are necessary and in development.”
To report damage and hog sightings in Katy neighborhoods, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is an ongoing local issue that we will continue to follow.