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      Nature Report: Pig Problems Persist

      Texas has a huge hog problem.

      There are an estimated 2.6 million wild pigs plus in the state, and annually they cause some $52 million dollars of damage to crops, livestock, water sources, and native wildlife.

      Texas upped the ante in the battle with the prolific pigs a year ago when the state legislature passed the "pork chopper" law that permits paying recreational hunters to shoot pigs from helicopters.

      Landowners had previously been able to arrange to hunt wild pigs from the air, but until passage of the "pork-chopper" law paying clients were not allowed.

      While the state does not keep records of the number of wild hogs killed by aerial gunners, the initial attraction of hunting by expensive chopper charter seems to be leveling off, and the added kills don't appear to be making much of a much of a dent in the overall pig population.

      A recent report from The Texas AgriLife Extension Service indicates the porkers are winning the war despite the choppers.

      According to the 2011 study, some 753,000 feral hogs or roughly 29 percent of the estimated 2.6 million wild pigs in Texas were eradicated by some means.

      With that annual rate biologists say that it will take only five years for the Texas pig population to double to 5.2 million.

      Biologists estimate that approximately 66 percent of the population needs to be removed on an annual basis just to keep the population stable.

      With sows averaging a litter and a half per year and nearly six piglets per litter the prolific pigs are out pacing efforts to control them.