Feral swine running wild in eastern New Mexico

Courtesy photo: Alan May, State Director USDA/APHIS/Wildlife Services. The Department of Game and Fish does not regulate or manage the hunting of feral swine, therefore no permit is required and hogs may be hunted year round.

Tonjia Rolan

Prolific feral swine populations are ravaging eastern New Mexico range and farmland and creating an ecological nightmare, according to state and federal wildlife officials.

An astonishing reproductive rate has seen hogs spread to 17 New Mexico counties in just seven years.

Farmer and rancher Ted Rush of Quay County has hunted and killed more than 300 feral swine on his land. They rooted up his feed roads and destroyed thousands of dollars in milo and sorghum crops.

“My wheat fields looked like they’d been bombed by the military, there were huge craters everywhere” Rush said.

An increase in similar incidents could have a potentially devastating effect on New Mexico’s economy.