Feral hog damage to cemeteries is common across Texas and the South and can devastate a cemetery. Hogs are attracted to cemeteries because grave-pits provide pockets of softer soil and present an opportunity for hogs to rut in search of insects and worms. These ruts make mowing and maintenance difficult, if not impossible, and can result in toppled headstones.
Cemeteries commonly have a pile of soil used to top-off sunken graves. It may be tempting to use this soil to top-off the hog ruts to smooth the ground surface. However, filling the ruts without keeping the hogs out may invite the hogs to make even more ruts as the softer fill dirt will attract more worms and insects to the area. Eventually, filling the hog ruts with soil will be needed for mowing, but we have a few recommendations prior to topping-off the ruts.
Documentation. If the damage is limited to a portion of the cemetery, it would be best to create a sketch map of the area impacted so that in the future, sunken areas containing hog ruts are not confused with grave depressions. Extensive photographic documentation “as-is” is also recommended.
Repair or replacement of fencing. Depending on the type of existing fence materials, rolls or panels of swine-wire can be added. Existing fence posts need to be strong, and some or all of the posts may need to be replaced with stronger posts. Research by Texas A&M’s AgriLife found that swine-wire needs to be at least 34 inches tall. See this video from AgriLife.
The THC does not have funding for this purpose, but we do provide information on grant resources and opportunities. Also, it may be possible to receive assistance through the county through a provision in the Texas Health and Safety Code. Please note that this assistance may be provided at the discretion of the county commissioners, but they are not required to do so.