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Wild Hogs in Texas

Maurice Chambers has opened his ranch near Sabinal, Texas, to bow hunters trying to bag wild boar.
John Burnett, NPR /
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Maurice Chambers has opened his ranch near Sabinal, Texas, to bow hunters trying to bag wild boar.
A wild boar is penned at the Chambers Ranch.
John Burnett, NPR /
/
A wild boar is penned at the Chambers Ranch.

Feral pigs are running rampant in the Lone Star State, rooting up lawns and pastures, and eating everything in sight. But what Texans consider little more than vermin, Europeans see as a delicacy for which they'll pay dearly. Could wild hog be the next big thing? NPR's John Burnett reports.

Wild hogs have been rummaging through the American countryside for as long as there has been an America. Spanish explorers introduced pigs in Florida 500 years ago. Some escaped, went native, and they've been running wild ever since. Today, feral hogs are found in more than half the states, mostly in the South. In many places, such as Texas, their numbers are growing, causing big headaches for landowners.

There are an estimated 2 million in Texas alone. The population has gone hog wild, boosted by the release of feral and domestic hogs onto ranches so they can be hunted for sport.

Having depleted their own supply, Europeans now import large quantities from the United States. Broken Arrow Ranch, in Ingram, Texas, says it ships about 14 tons of wild pork a year.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

As NPR's Southwest correspondent based in Austin, Texas, John Burnett covers immigration, border affairs, Texas news and other national assignments. In 2018, 2019 and again in 2020, he won national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association for continuing coverage of the immigration beat. In 2020, Burnett along with other NPR journalists, were finalists for a duPont-Columbia Award for their coverage of the Trump Administration's Remain in Mexico program. In December 2018, Burnett was invited to participate in a workshop on Refugees, Immigration and Border Security in Western Europe, sponsored by the RIAS Berlin Commission.
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