Freestone County landowners may soon have another weapon in their arsenal in the war against feral hogs.
As reported last week, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller recently announced a rule change in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) that classifies a Warfarin-based hog lure as a state-limited-use pesticide. The pesticide, “Kaput® Feral Hog Lure,” is the first toxicant to be listed specifically for use in controlling the feral hog population.
As most rural landowners will attest, there is a demonstrated need for additional feral hog population control methods.
It is estimated that there are currently over 2 million feral hogs in Texas. This invasive species causes an estimated $52 million of damage to Texas agricultural enterprises each year.
The regulatory status under the rule change is intended to ensure safe handling and application of this new product. The rule change is supported by the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service.
What is Warfarin?
Warfarin is not a poison.
This chemical compound prevents blood from clotting, and is commonly used in medicine to prevent strokes in patients with heart conditions or dangerous blood clots.
At higher doses, it can be harmful or, even, potentially fatal. For this reason, Warfarin is referred to as a toxicant, because it can be toxic only at high enough doses.
According to experts familiar with the issue, Warfarin is a logical choice for hog toxicant, because it is effective in swine but requires much higher dosage levels to potentially affect other wildlife populations or livestock.
Also, an antidote to Warfarin (Vitamin K) is readily available.
Who is Allowed to Use the Hog Lure?
Precautions must be taken in using this product safely.
State-limited-use pesticides may only be bought and used by a licensed applicator or someone under the direct supervision of a licensed applicator.
How will the Lure be Administered?
The new hog lure is required to be used in specially designed hog feeders with heavy lids, in order to limit direct access to other animals.
Feral hogs must first be conditioned to accept feed in the bait dispensers, and to open the weighted lids to the bait compartments. Non-toxic bait -- such as water soaked corn or Kaput® Feral Hog Lure -- is used for three to six weeks, until the hogs are readily feeding from the containers.
Once this is established, the non-toxic feed is replaced with the Warfarin-based Kaput® Feral Hog Bait.
How Does the Hog Bait Work?
Once the non-toxic bait is replaced with Kaput® Feral Hog Bait, applicators are required to return to the sites in 2- to 4-day intervals to check for dead or dying feral hogs and/or non-target animals.
The Warfarin-based hog bait will cause internal bleeding in the feral hogs that eventually causes death.
All carcasses must be disposed of properly, which may include burying on site at least 18 inches below the ground surface. This is to prevent scavengers from being poisoned by feeding on the animals that have eaten the bait.
The sites must continue to be checked for at least two weeks after removal of all hog bait.
All deaths of non-target animals must be reported to the State.
Are other landowners Required to be Notified?
Bilingual caution signs will be required to warn the public of the presence of the Warfarin-based bait and to forbid disturbance of bait dispensers and hog carcasses.
Other Things to Consider:
Hog hunters should be aware that a dye in this product will impart a blue color to the fatty tissues of hogs that have eaten the Warfarin-based hog bait. These carcasses must be disposed of properly.
Ranchers should not use these feeders where livestock are being grazed. If bait is to be applied in areas used for grazing, livestock should be removed and kept away for at least 90 days after toxic baits are removed from bait dispensers.