Beginning Sep 1, any person with the consent of the landowner may take feral hogs without a state hunting license, thanks to a new law signed recently by Gov. Greg Abbott.

SB 317 by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) amends current law by removing the requirement that feral hogs must be causing damage on a landowner’s property in order to be hunted without a license.

“This bill, although a small step, gives landowners some ammunition in the ongoing battle against the growing feral hog population,” Tracy Tomascik, Texas Farm Bureau associate director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities, said.

Feral hogs cause millions of dollars in damage to crops and private property, as well as spread E. coli.

“The original bill (from 2005) required that the hogs be causing depredation and that a landowner or landowner’s agent or leasee would be exempt from the hunting license requirement to take them. The language of the new bill basically says that any person with the consent of the landowner may take feral hogs without a license,” Stormy King, assistant commander of Wildlife Enforcement for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network.

King said TPWD suggested removing the agent or leasee language to remove confusion and to prevent some enforcement issues that had occurred because of interpretations.

“I think it’s a win-win for everybody involved. I think it addresses the intent of the Legislature and of the people of Texas to try to at least in some small way curb the problem, and at the same time, making it easier on our Parks and Wildlife enforcement folks,” King said. “The new law exempts any person from a license requirement to take feral hogs, as long as they have the consent of the landowner to be hunting on the property.”

Tomascik noted feral hogs are among the most destructive invasive species in Texas and the U.S. today.