Statewide Feral Hog Abatement Pilot Project, 2006-2007
Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for National Conference on Feral Hogs , 2008

Higginbotham, B., Clary, G., Hysmith, L., Bodenchuck, M.

The two year Feral Hog Abatement Project was implemented in January 2006. On-site technical assistance (direct control) was provided to landowners at three pilot sites (Post Oak Savannah/Pineywoods, Blacklands Prairie and Coastal Prairie) while group educational events (indirect control) emphasizing adoption of efficient landowner-initiated control methods were conducted statewide. Both groups of clientele participating in the project and were surveyed to measure the overall economic impact of this Texas Department of Agriculture-funded initiative. Data spanned the period 2005-2007 so as to estimate the economic impact of technical assistance and educational programs to the agricultural community. Wildlife Service technicians worked with a total of 48 cooperators during the course of this project. However, eight participants did not provide data for a variety of reasons for all three years concerned. Data from all cooperators are included in the main body of this report as results from these eight participants do not significantly impact totals. The 48 participating cooperators owned or controlled 230,017 acres and estimated damages and expenditures totaling $2,228,076 directly attributable to feral hogs at the three pilot sites for 2005. These same cooperators estimated a decline in damage to $1,261,520 in 2006 as a direct result of Wildlife Service abatement efforts that included the removal of 1,930 feral hogs. In 2007, a decline in damage of $513,935 from the previous year (2006) was noted following the removal of 1,869 hogs. As a result, cooperators saved a total of $966,556 through the direct technical assistance provided by Wildlife Services during Year 1 and $513,935 in Year 2 of the project for a total savings of $1,480,491. On a scale of 0 to 10, cooperators participating in technical assistance efforts via Wildlife Services rated the services provided as a 9.1 based on the likelihood of their recommending Wildlife Services to friends, family and colleagues as a source of technical assistance for feral hog control. A Net Promoter Score of 71% among the cooperator group also indicated that Wildlife Services was efficiently assisting landowners with direct control via on-site technical assistance. The benefit to cost ratio of direct control efforts was 6.2 to 1.0 ($6.20 saved for each $1.00 invested). Texas AgriLife Extension Service (formerly Texas Cooperative Extension) educational/ outreach efforts/technical assistance (indirect control) were conducted statewide for 5,197 landowners attending 67 educational events in 66 counties and by one-on-one contacts. Educational program efforts included seminars, workshops, field days and pesticide recertification trainings. Participants were surveyed to determine damage type, control methods employed, number and type of practices to be adopted, knowledge gained and economic value of knowledge gained. A total of 2,281 participants (return rate = 44%) completed surveys. While this rate of survey return was considered to be high, it was actually higher then reported because multiple program participants often represented a single landholding, thus only one survey was completed per landholding/family in attendance at an educational event. Indirect control programming resulting in knowledge gained were valued at $2,978,821 by landowners, based on previous year’s damage estimates ($6,252,044) vs. the upcoming year’s damage estimates ($3,273,223). This equates to an average information value/economic savings of $2,108 per each of the 1,413 survey respondents answering the economic impact questions. The benefit to cost ratio of indirect control efforts was 19.6 to 1.0 ($19.60 saved for each $1.00 invested). On a scale of 0 to 10, landowners participating in educational events scored AgriLife Extension with a Customer Satisfaction Rating of 8.7 (on a 0 to 10 Likert scale) based on the likelihood of their recommending our agency as an information source and for feral hog control to their family, colleagues and friends. A Net Promoter Score of 51% among the landowner group also indicated that AgriLife Extension was efficiently reaching the needs of clientele with educational/outreach information on abating feral hog damage. The feral hog website (http://feralhog.tamu.edu) was a popular source of information on feral hogs, their control and the project’s progress with 31,374 unique hits and 76,830 pages accessed. Tremendous media interest in the project resulted in 9 television interviews, 2 news releases and 20 radio and newspaper interviews. In total, the Feral Hog Abatement Pilot Project has saved landowners/agricultural producers $4,459,312 during resulting in benefit to cost ratio of 11.42 to 1.00 ($11.42 saved for each $1.00 invested).