Big shifts in the way states are tackling hog hunting efforts now extend to those who don't even have licenses.
The rule only applies to private land, however there is no closed season and no bag limits on feral hogs in Texas, meaning the impact could be felt year-round.
The official word from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hunting regulations page is this:
A resident or non-resident hunting license is not required to hunt depredating feral hogs or coyotes on private property with landowner authorization.
So you can't just head off into the woods and hunt down a pig, but this does open the door to new regulations as a step towards control of wild hog populations.
The bill and its author, Sen. Bryan Hughes of Mineola, received the utmost support. The Texas Senate unanimously passed the bill on April 11, and Gov. Abbott made it official on May 31, 2019.
It's fair to assume someone who takes a liking to hog hunting without the barrier of license requirements will be interested enough to pursue more hunting opportunities. It seems like a smart way to get folks in on the battle against destructive non-game animals and potentially recruit new hunters as well.
They don't have to wait for hunting season to begin, they aren't tossed onto public land to fend for themselves, and they'll get some real world hunter education. Hogs offer an experience that small game, most folks' first foray into hunting, just can't deliver.
It honestly doesn't take much to hunt hogs, and with night hunting, helicopter hunting, and even hot air balloons (seriously) fair tools and tactics, reducing the feral hog population in Texas might just translate to the most interesting hunt in the world.
Though I'm never one to condone hurting an animal intentionally, there's really no better big game to "practice" on, if you want to call it that. A bad shot on a wild pig is a lot better than a bad shot while deer hunting; I'm sure plenty sportsmen around the country can agree with that. Take that a step further, and I'd say wounding feral swine and failing to recover the animal is far less detrimental to the ecosystem (and future hunting potential) than, say, a wounded and unrecovered elk.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says feral hogs cause "an estimated $1.5 billion each year in damages and control costs."