What is in this article?:
- Feral hogs are a major problem on agricultural lands in Texas.
- The new two months may be the best time to make a dent in those populations.
- But control measures require more than just setting traps for wild pigs, a Texas AgriLife Extension specialist says.
Higginbotham has detailed information on designing wild-pig traps at http://feralhogs.tamu.edu. Though design is important, there’s more to successfully controlling hogs than just buying or building a good trap, he said.
“Trapping is a process — not an event,” Higginbotham said. “That process includes training the pigs to bait, determining the size of trap based on the size of the sounder (family group), training the pigs to become accustomed to the trap’s presence and to regularly enter the trap with the gate secured open. Then and only then should the trap be set to actually catch the pigs.”
Higginbotham noted that the most difficult pig to trap is one that has been “almost” caught, but got away because of poor trap design or planning. Mature pigs, especially boars, also learn to be wary of traps when they see other members of their sounder are caught. So it’s important to catch as many as possible with one setting of the trap.
He also recommended using a remote-sensing camera, available from sporting-good retailers, to determine the size and feeding habits of pigs before constructing the trap. The cameras are designed to operate automatically at suspected pig haunts. They are tripped by motion detectors with pig activity and take digital photos, marking the time in the process. Setting these cameras and interpreting the results are also outlined on the wild pig control website, he said.
“Landowners remain the first line of defense because Texas is 95 percent privately owned land,” Higginbotham said. “We are not going to eradicate wild pig populations with the current legal control methods, but research has clearly demonstrated that the economic impact wild pigs have on agricultural operations can be significantly reduced by the control methods we do have.”