During the last decade, surface lignite mines in eastern Texas have experienced damage by feral hogs (Sus scrofa) to reclaimed areas. Specifically, feral hogs have caused damage to plants used in reclamation. In addition to vegetative losses, erosion control problems and water quality impacts have been noted. Big Brown Lignite Mine in Freestone County, Texas, had tried to control feral hogs through year-long trapping, which proved expensive. We hypothesized that hogs were using reclaimed areas only at night and seasonally. If so, knowledge of travel lanes into the mine and seasonal use would help concentrate trapping efforts and reduce costs. To determine travel lanes and season use, we radio-monitored 6 male and 10 female feral hogs from January 1998 to January 1999 at Big Brown Mine. We determined annual range size and habitat selection using a geographic information system. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found feral hogs remained on reclaimed lands. We observed that male feral hogs had a significantly (P < 0.02) larger mean annual range (15.8 km2) than did female hogs (6.5 km2), and hogs of both sexes preferred reclaimed wildlife areas and non-mined riparian corridors on the mine site, which had higher screening cover than other vegetation types. We found free water to be another important landscape feature that influenced hog movements. We observed that feral hogs moved greater distances from free water and screening cover during night hours. Feral hogs also traveled greater distances from both free water and screen cover during winter and spring than during summer or fall (P < 0.001). Based on the information obtained from our study, we recommend vegetation management (mowing of tall grass areas where hogs hide during daylight hours) be implemented to reduce hog impacts that occur mostly during night at the mine site. Reducing vegetative cover around water sources may also reduce hog impacts
Mersinger, Robert C. and Silvy, Nova J.
"Range Size, Habitat use, and Dial Activity of Feral Hogs on Reclaimed Surface-Mined lands in East Texas,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 1
, Article 13.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol1/iss2/13