Feral Hogs Still on the Loose After Dallas Has Second Thoughts About Hired Trapper

Categories: Animal Welfare

deadhogs.jpg
Osvaldo Rojas/Facebook
Last fall, the fate of Dallas' destructive, hyper-sexual feral hog population rested in the traps of just one man, Osvaldo Rojas, who runs a feral hog business called City Trapping. He'd been hired to capture hogs on some city property before, but September was when he got the big contract, a three-year, $284,000 deal to capture all of the feral hogs in Dallas city limits. This was necessary, officials explained at the time, because the population of feral hogs in North Texas was growing out of control.

At the time, Rojas gave Unfair Park vivid descriptions of the high-tech hog traps he planned to use but declined to say where he was going to put them. So, watch where you step.

See also: Osvaldo Rojas Is at War with Dallas' Feral Hogs, and His Weapon Is His Smartphone

But it turns out, as Rojas was going on a media blitz, giving excited Dallas reporters tours of his anti-hog arsenal, city officials changed their minds. It's now been seven months since Rojas was supposed to have started trapping all our hogs, but the city never made the deal official. Hogs are still running loose.

"There's been a bunch of people complaining to the city and the city's not doing anything about it," Rojas tells Unfair Park.

Local landowners and lower-level city employees figured out that there was a problem with the contract slowly, when feral hogs kept destroying stuff and making baby hogs, and no one seemed to be doing anything to stop them.

"We continue to incur significant damage to our Landfill Levee and really need to get these pest reduced in number," Ron Smith, the sanitation department assistant director, wrote in an email to his boss Kelly High in November. Another employee said there was an urgent need for a hog trapper on a golf course. The Park Department sent out a picture of a bunch of hogs gathered around a feeder by the Audubon Center.

In January, things apparently took a turn for the worse: "They are getting bad out there," Kelly High, sanitation services department director, wrote in an email to Trinity Watershed Management's Sarah Standifer.

A few weeks later, Trinity River Audubon Center Director Benjamin Jones sent a message to the city with the subject line: "3 sows/17 piglets." All those animals passed him on the entrance to his center, Jones' note explained.

"The hogs on the Trinity River Audubon center have become devastating," Audubon Center Executive Director Brian Trusty tells Unfair Park.

So why don't we have an official hog-trapper doing something about it? In a statement, Dallas city spokesman Shawn Williams briefly writes that the contract was never executed because the city of Dallas was concerned about "the safety of some techniques" that Rojas planned to use.

Yet Rojas says the city is still hiring him to capture some hogs on a city-owned golf course, though he won't say which one. It's just the rest of the city that he's not allowed to touch. "Why, I don't know, " he says over the phone, sounding a little annoyed. "They haven't told me yet."

The city's internal emails about hogs, which we obtained through an open records request, suggest that city officials first freaked out when they realized Rojas liked to carry firearms. In an email to the city, Rojas tried appease those concerns by writing that he would change his company policy to no longer allow the weapons. But the city didn't like that, either. "How does he intend to protect himself," attorney Meredith Ladd wrote in an email to the some of the Dallas employees charged with working out contracts. "We cannot have him on City property trapping hogs in a manner that is not safe for himself or others." She recommended that Rojas keep carrying a firearm but also pay extra in insurance.

Rojas says paying for the insurance wasn't a problem. "We went ahead and changed our rules and the way we do things, and no longer carry guns. Then they asked us why aren't you going to carry a gun now? ... There's no winning with these people," he says.

Then there was Rojas' Facebook page, which features a lot of hog photos and footage, some more gruesome than others. That appeared to become a problem in September, when Dallas' Kevin Acosta, a coordinator for the city's customer service department, warned council member Dwaine Caraway about a constituent who saw a feral hog in her yard. Caraway's assistant responded by sending Acosta a link to a video found on Rojas' Facebook profile. The video shows a guy being really mean to a big hog, and then shooting at it.

Just one problem: You can't actually see the face of the person doing the hog-abusing in the video. Acosta, for his part, was not impressed. "I looked at the video. I could not tell who the person was," he wrote in an email. (Here's a link.)

Rojas acknowledges that the hog abuse video came from his Facebook page but denies that it's him. "I put it on there because that's what people are doing, and that's what not to do," he says.

Whatever actually halted the deal, that hasn't stopped hogs from reproducing. Trusty, from the Audubon Center, would have liked that contract to have gone into effect awhile ago. He says the prairies and much of the infrastructure around his facility are getting destroyed. When he asked the city what was up, he found out that his center is now responsible for capturing its own hogs.

If there's ever a more coordinated effort to capture all the hogs, like the original contract entailed, the city hasn't worked it out yet. "We are rethinking how we choose to approach this project moving forward," spokesman Williams tells Unfair Park via email. Hopefully, the city will start to rethink faster: experts say that sows give birth to their first littesr at the tender age of just 13 months old and continue with a rate of about 1.5 litters a year.

Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.

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115 comments
juanmayeaux
juanmayeaux

Just do what Jefferson Parish in Louisiana does with their Nutria problem; let local LEOs take care of the varmints with their AR-15's and that will thin the Hog population.

kduble
kduble

That video is pretty sick. If you're going to slaughter an animal, than slaughter an animal and let it feed a family. There's no sportsmanship in provoking fear in a trapped beast, wounding it, then letting it run off to die.

lolno
lolno

Let us take bows to the trinity. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

The first pig I ever shot I hoisted up on limb like a deer.  I stripped her down to parade rest, dropping the guts in pile.  I took the hams and shoulders, and the tenderloin too.  I cut the parachute cord and let the spine, head and carcass fall atop the steaming guts.  Life was good.  That was early in the morning.

I came back that evening and lo and behold!

Pig tracks.  Lots of 'em.  But no pig leftovers.  In fact, The feral hogs ate everything, including the skull, bones and soft tissue. Nothing was left.

Then they licked up the blood and an inch of dirt to the underlying rocks.

When feral hogs get excited - and blood of any kind including their own kind sends them into orbit - best get up in a tree.

There's a reason why the old saw goes, "if you wanna get rid of somebody, kill 'em and feed 'em to the hogs".

Or take them to South Texas.

Now, take them to the Trinity River bottom.

TexMarine
TexMarine

Note to self: there's food by the Audubon Center.

ahcomeon
ahcomeon

I'm pretty sure Rojas knows why his contract was not enacted.  It was absurd to hire just one person to handle trapping all of Dallas anyways.  

All in all this was a bad deal for the city and the tax payers.  Unless trapping efforts are concentrated around the one or two places the hogs are actually entering the city (like the I-20 bridge over the Trinity River) then the effort will be a never ending tax payer money pit (but very lucrative to whoever the city hires to do the trapping).  If all they ever do is remove a few pigs from the golf course or the landfill, then there will be a constant stream of new hogs coming up from the south to fill the void. A never ending problem eating up your tax dollars. And one that the city can claim they are working to solve if you are not paying close attention.  Your tax dollars at work.

Even more concerning are the reports of juvenile hogs being released in the White Rock Lake area. There only a couple of reasons someone would do something like this.  One is pure mischief.  The other involves the desire to create an expanded need for hog remediation in the city.

Americano
Americano

We have Rednecks.  We have guns.  Problem solved.

pak152
pak152

so which is worse for the city? fecund feral hogs or plastic bags?

AdamsonScott
AdamsonScott

Let's put a tax on them and use the proceeds to create an "Environmental Hog Fund".

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

"Newby Davis qualifies as a minority-and woman-owned business because it's controlled by an African-American and a woman." Ah yes.  The Pork Wrangler Mod Squad.

Schutze must be sobbing with joy about now.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Feral hogs - just one more reason to carry a weapon. Of course, those opposed to weapons will just have to depend on those they want to disarm, and/or cower in the house.

IOW, same old same old.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Texas losing war on feral hogs

"Described by some wildlife managers as "four-legged fire ants," Texas' population of economically and environmentally destructive feral hogs has exploded to an estimated at 2.6 million and continues expanding despite hunters annually taking 750,000 of the swine."

A few more years of Leftists gone hog-wild, and the feral hog will be a ready food source of government meat during an economic collapse.

dc005
dc005

As they get more accustomed to people,  so crowded they have to move closer to them,  lookout Murphy and Sachse (and everywhere else).


A friend out in Gilmer,  close to Extreme East Texas,  says they've taken over,  it's not safe for man nor beast,  especially dogs.  Nobody's mentioned,  they have tusks,  can gut a dog in a second.  And often aren't hesitant to charge at a human. 


Meat of the sow and piglets supposedly ok,  if cooked long enough,  meat of the old boar more likely to be diseased,  have the ultimate 'gamey' flavor.  Friend in Gilmer says they make sausage with the meat.


I doubt the meat can be sold openly,  the USDA has to inspect meat send to supermarkets,  doesn't it?



Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Would it be possible to replace "capture" with "kill" throughout the articlle

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

We hunt them in Turkey Tx with dogs n knife.

Id take over if I got paid per head.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Give Dallas bums required weaponry and training (Bowie knife/MD 20-20), BBQ facilities and charcoal.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

1. I've hunted feral hogs. There is a place closer to Dallas I could hunt them cheaply with bow. But, they do not allow firearms (even a concealed pistol), so I don't hunt there. Feral hogs are to mean and dangerous to go against them unarmed.
2. As to the contract issue, I'm betting that someone got all antsy about bad publicity when the contract was placed. There will be people who are convinced that feral hogs can be controlled with killing them. And, those people will be all up in arms if the word got out that the city had hired someone to do this.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@holmantx When I was a kid I shot a hog from around 200 yards away that was the biggest in what was a group of about 20. As song as he hit the ground the other hogs jumped on him like fucking piranhas. I had no idea that they were so quick to cannibalize. Granted, this was a good decade or more before I ever watched the Deadwood and saw how they got rid of bodies.

dc005
dc005

@ahcomeon   Could be worse.  In the 70's and 80's an infamous Dallas broadcast engineer who used to wrestle alligators for Florida touristers would occasionally bring back a couple babies when he went home to see Mama.  Six or so months later,  when poodles started disappearing around Lake Ray Hubbard or some other,  the hunt for Mr. Gator would hit the news.  And a promise,  the Professional Gator Hunter got 'em all.

A little while later,  he'd go back to Florida to see Mama ...

amy.silverstein
amy.silverstein

@ahcomeon  re: "reports of juvenile hogs being released in the White Rock Lake area." Which reports--can you post a link?  

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@pak152  

Feral, fecund, plastic bag hogs.

Very problematic.

pak152
pak152

@dc005 actually the meat can be sold if they are trapped alive and the butchered

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@dc005  

A feral hog is a domesticated hog that got away (or its ancestors).  Range fed, they are wonderful to eat.  (the other white meat).  Lean, they all cook up very nicely.  

Just wear gloves when you clean them and cook well done.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Sharon_Moreanus  
I won a chili cook-off this year with a pot of "Bubba's Bodacious Bacon-n-Bison". Enough cooks asked me about it that there's a niche market for feral pork meat.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@TheRuddSki I actually have been to a cookout where someone put the biggest wild hog from the hunt in the ground and cooked that fucker for hours. Holy shit that was some good eating. Its amazing how an afternoon of drinking beer will ease your mind about any threat of trichinosis.

ColonelAngus
ColonelAngus

@Tim.Covington The Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service were presenting an alternative to Montana ranchers for controlling the coyote population. It seems after years of trapping and shooting coyotes, the Sierra Club had come up with a more "humane" method of dealing with coyotes. The Sierra Club was proposing that the coyotes be trapped alive and the males castrated and thus released without killing them. This was actually proposed by the Sierra Club and USFS.

All of the ranchers thought about this for a minute. Finally an old cowboy- rancher type in the back of the room stood up and said, "Son, I don't think you understand our problem here. These coyotes aren't fucking our sheep, they're eating them." The meeting never really returned to order after that.

ttracker
ttracker

@Tim.Covington

What would you say if, oh, an elementary age child was given an M-4 carbine variant to hunt with near the Audubon Center? Would you be comfortable with a child using a rifle like that? Does that pass your sniff test? Curious. 

joshua
joshua

@dc005 heck, he could be President if he was from Chicago.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@amy.silverstein  

You don't put your hands on feral hog, particularly their kids.  

Dumbest thing I ever heard.

It takes pros to trap hogs then push them into trucks and transport them to a dropoff point.  They'd be like ricochet bullets.

in the middle of copland.

No.  Not possible.

What's the motivation?

JustSaying
JustSaying

@wcvemail I think that is what Osvaldo had in mind. He could get paid to trap the hogs then flip them on Harry Hines to meet the pastor taco demand. Classic double dipping.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@JustSaying

The MD20-20, as the name suggests, is strictly for medicinal purposes, as well as for courage. Beer may lack sufficient alcohol percentage to affect your average professional bum/hunter in either application.

joshua
joshua

@ttracker just put some Detroit teenagers on the case...they will beat anything they  see to death.

TexMarine
TexMarine

@ttracker  We took my friends 11 yr old cousin this past weekend. He shot a 150 lb hog near Mount Pleasant...five times...just to make sure.  No one was ever concerned that he didn't know what he was doing, because he was raised right.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

@ttracker  We are not talking about children or M4 Carbines. We are talking about licensed professional hunters and a pistol or shotgun. There is a big difference.

They will not be using these weapons to hunt the hogs. They would be using these weapons to protect themselves during trapping operations

TexMarine
TexMarine

@ahcomeon  thats exactly what I was going to say. If you don't see momma, that piggie was planted.

ttracker
ttracker

@amy.silverstein  

No ma'am. Just pig reports from fisherman up the creek north of the lake. That and the videos of lone runt pigs scattered about. Maybe those pigs can fly. That's how they got there. Now that the sandie run is on north of the lake them fisherman are shoulder to shoulder. More than a few have a pig story from the creek there. If there ever were lone pigs somewhere, they would be big adult male boars looking for sows to breed with, not the scared little ones just small enough to fit in the backseat of a car or dog carrier.

amy.silverstein
amy.silverstein

@ttracker @amy.silverstein  This video doesn't capture the hog actually being dropped off though...is that something you've witnessed personally? 

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

There is a gentleman who traps n sells every 2 weeks-live.

Feral pigs aren't like Myrna's cats.

I wonder what the Water Whisperer has to say about this.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@JustSaying  

Europeans pay big bucks for feral hog.

But you must deliver them on the hoof.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@JustSaying

In either case, this is your wingman's responsibility.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@TheRuddSki Its best to drink long after you are somewhere trying to defend yourself from 300 pound hog that is charging you. I certainly wish I had followed my own advice at a few bars at last call, though.

ttracker
ttracker

@JustSaying @Tim.Covington 

You should call the Dallas Police Department or the Dallas County TPWD Game Warden Office. Ask about what is going on. I would encourage you to do so.

ttracker
ttracker

@JustSaying @Tim.Covington 

You heard the "Mountain Lion Incident" story? It's a good 'un and is well known about in Pleasant Grove. You should get around down there and ask about. Make sure your neck is in good shape cause you'll be shaking it for a week afterward. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ttracker @Tim.Covington  

clean your plate because kids are starving in China.

in other words, you aren't getting any traction with that fucked up hypothetical.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

@ttracker @Tim.Covington  If children were hunting on city property without adult supervision, it would be wrong and illegal.
If it was legal to hunt on city property, for adults it would depend on the specifics of the property. Though, I do not think there is a single piece of Dallas city property that would be safe to hunt on with rifles. So, I'm thinking it wouldn't even be made legal. But, that is why there is a state limit of legal means in Dallas county of Archery only for deer.

ttracker
ttracker

@Tim.Covington

No. I'm talking about children with rifles on city property. Would it blow your mind if that happened? Hypothetically of course. What would you think about adults hunting on city property, inside the city limits with higher caliber rifles? Like .270, .30-06, 7mm. Would that sit wrong with you? Not for dispatching wounded pigs in the trap. Just plain hunting. What would you think about that?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@TexMarine @holmantx  

It's adequate to the task on mid-sized pigs that present a good sight picture.  The 556 runs into trouble if the shot's hurried, the pig's hauling ass, is a big boar, low light.  Just Google .458 SOCOM upgrade and it's the bees knees in pig world.  

For a reason.

And yes, I 've shot a lot of pigs with both 556 and 7.62x39s.

But a hunting round too big for combat is preferable for all the readily apparent reasons.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@holmantx @ttracker  

" Jamison is enjoying the newfound celebrity generated by the hog hunt, but he said he prefers hunting pheasants to monster pigs.

"They are a little less dangerous." "


True, very true.

TexMarine
TexMarine

@holmantx  not true. the right grain does the trick every time. I use 5.56 70+ grain BTHP, not sure what .556 is.

TexMarine
TexMarine

@ttracker i don't think anyone is interested in playing your ridiculous game.

ttracker
ttracker

@JustSaying @holmantx 

You heard the mountain lion story before? Just about everyone in Pleasant Grove has heard about the incident. 

wuzyoungoncetoo1
wuzyoungoncetoo1

@holmantx @wuzyoungoncetoo1


I'm well aware of hog anatomy, having killed and field dressed a few in my day.  The fact remains that outside of your theoretical requirements, in the real world of actual results, .223/5.56 rounds tipped with controlled-expansion bullets in the 62 gr and up range have proven more than adequate to the task of reliably dispatching feral hogs (and whitetail deer for that matter, at reasonable distances) with anything even close to proper shot placement (which is a requirement for reliability no matter what round you're using).  This is why the AR-15 platform, chambered in standard .223 Rem, has become such a popular choice for the job.


Have a look around here and see what people are actually doing with the gun/round in the real world:


http://www.ar15.com/forums/f_10/9_Hog_Hunting.html

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@wuzyoungoncetoo1 @holmantx  

Below the very tough front cape on a boar is a thick tallow layer.  Just these first two layers are problematic if you don't get a profile shot while standing still.  Behind that is a very thick clavicle that covers the heart.  The frontal portion of the skull is capable of deflecting a small arms round made to Geneva Convention specs.  The adult boar can accelerate to 30 mph in ten yards or less but they can cut on a dime.  So it's best use at a minimum a .270 or higher.  A .458 will cartwheel most big pigs.  

wuzyoungoncetoo1
wuzyoungoncetoo1

@holmantx  "The M4 would need a .458 SOCOM upgrade.  The .556 round is too small to stop an armor-plated boar."


Oh, bull.  First off, it's "5.56" (or .223).  Secondly, tipped with controlled-expansion bullets made for hunting medium-sized game 5.56/.223 has proven to be more than adequate for taking feral hogs, which has made the AR-15 chambered in that standard round very popular for the purpose.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@ttracker @holmantx  

The M4 would need a .458 SOCOM upgrade.  The .556 round is too small to stop an armor-plated boar.

And your question is obviously obtuse.  

Unless he was under parental supervision (like the 6th grader in the story) and your house was the backstop.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@ttracker@holmantx Why would you even ask that? Are we talking about a Lord of the Flies style hunt because there are absolutely no adults around?

ttracker
ttracker

@holmantx

Would you allow a child to hunt inside the City Limits of Dallas, Texas with a rifle on city owned property? Not trying to start a gun debate, I am wondering if you think it would be a good idea to hunt on public property with a child shooting a rifle like that. With the backstop being the Audubon Center.

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