Statement on Warfarin-Based Feral Hog Toxicant
Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) recognizes the ecological and agricultural damage that feral hogs create across Texas. As such, TWA is a staunch proponent of effective and responsible control of feral hog populations. However, the recent announcement by the Texas Department of Agriculture approving the use of a Warfarin-based feral hog toxicant is cause for concern.
Warfarin has a highly variable lethality, often taking several days before eventual death. This creates opportunity for Warfarin to reach non-target species, including carnivores who prey on poisoned animals, carrion feeders that consume poisoned carcasses, and even humans who harvest and consume poisoned animals.
The proposed commercial Warfarin-based feral hog toxicant, Kaput Feral Hog Bait, carries a label requiring several practices that TWA finds concerning and impractical.
First, the “Environmental Hazards” statement on the label notes possible toxicity to fish, birds, and other wildlife. The “Bait Application” statement requires collection and disposal of spilled bait around the feeders every 1 to 4 days. Both of these statements taken in context with a bait delivery apparatus that is easily defeated by wildlife other than feral hogs lead TWA to believe there is real risk of non-target species consuming Warfarin. Likely non-target wildlife would include small mammals and birds, which could in turn be consumed by other mammal, bird, and reptilian predators or scavengers.
Second, the “Surveillance and Follow-up” requirements recommend disposal of the poisoned carcasses by burial or other methods to ensure they are not accessible to scavengers. The length between consumption of poison and death (several days) makes this effectively impossible, virtually ensuring non-target species impact.
Taken in whole, TWA believes the use of a Warfarin-based feral hog toxicant as proposed poses far too great of a risk to the wildlife ecology of our great state. TWA also sees a potential for public concern over real human health risks having a chilling effect on hunting participation and other feral hog control methods such as trapping for commercial processing.
We strongly urge further scientific review and transparent due diligence before proceeding with the use of any Warfarin-based toxicant for feral hog control purposes. Accordingly, TWA supports bills recently filed in the Texas Legislature (SB 1454 and HB 3451) that seek to mandate such a review process.