When I saw a news report about a how two guys trapped and cornered a huge feral hog in Central Texas I was astounded that there are nearly three million of them running wild in the entire state of Texas.

Nathan Wright, 17, and Colton Roberts, 20, were using dogs to hunt wild hogs near Proctor Texas. They were using dogs to chase and attack the feral hogs and then, with the animal cornered, kill it with a knife. Of the three wild hogs they killed that morning, one wild boar tipped the scales at 460 pounds.

Nathan Wright Facebook

Whether you choose to call it a "game" a harvest or a hunt, by day or night, by ground or air, it is a hunt that is strongly encouraged by the state of Texas. There are an estimated 2.6 million feral hogs in Texas. They breed as early as six months of age and, distributed throughout the entire state, and cause billions of dollars in crop and field damage each year. As an unprotected, non-game animal, they can be hunted, without limits and with no Texas hunting permits required, and with landowner permission they can be hunted 24/7.

Wild hogs are now America’s most abundant free-ranging introduced animal. From 1982 to 2016, the wild pig population in the United States increased from 2.4 million to an estimated 6.9 million, with 2.6 million estimated to be residing in Texas alone. The population in the United States continues to grow rapidly due to their high reproduction rate.

Feral hogs are capable of carrying and transmitting at least 30 bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases which threaten humans, livestock, and wildlife. Some which can infect humans are brucellosis, leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, and trichinosis. Though disease transmission to humans is a real concern, the largest threat from wild pig diseases is the potential transmission to domestic livestock.

In 2011, the state made it legal for helicopter companies to take anyone, to hunt them by air.