By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist
Summertime is quickly approaching! This time of the year means fresh veggies and lots of crops. Unfortunately, it also means hogs are out and about, looking for a good place to wallow or root. This is bad news for landowners that are pouring blood, sweat, and tears into their vegetables and food plots. Luckily, trapping hogs is a feasible way to eradicate isolated populations on your land! Construction, placement, and camera surveys are important steps in the process of trapping feral hogs. These steps are crucial if landowners intend on making a dent in the hog population inhabiting their land.
The first important step is building the right trap. Box traps are good, but usually don’t provide enough space. Hogs travel in groups called sounders. Sounders can be composed of 11-14 individuals (usually sows and juveniles/litters). If you do not build a trap big enough to accommodate a whole sounder, you are just educating the rest of the group. With that being said, corral traps serve as the best holding area for a large group of pigs. It is best to create one with T-posts and 6-8 horse panels (or similar material), based on your preference. Do not worry, I am sure there are a few burly teenagers on summer break looking for a little $$! Be sure that the trap is big enough to hold the animals, but also sturdy enough to withstand angry pigs bulldozing into the sides. After the shape somewhat resembles a corral, you can install the door. The door can slide down or swing down, it is up to you. Whatever you do, make sure that it is not a continuous entry door. This means that once it closes, it still allows entry of other individuals. These doors have proven to be inefficient. If you do not wish to construct your own, you can purchase a ready-made corral trap. However, it may be easier and cheaper transport individual materials to the desired site, which brings me to my next point.
Location, location, location doesn’t always apply to real estate. In this case, it also applies to hog traps. LOCATION IS VERY IMPORTANT. You need to place the trap wherever hog activity is the greatest. For example, if you have a 60 acre corn field, place the trap in between a water source and that corn field. You are sure to attract them as they are traveling from food to water or water to food. Along with location, be sure that the trap is somewhat camouflaged. Location is up to you. Whether it is in the middle of a food plot or on the outskirts in the woods, but be sure and properly secure the trap. Be sure the ground is somewhat level and the trap can’t be moved by brute hog force. Camouflage isn’t that important, but it might help if you are having trouble getting the hogs to enter. Now that they are approaching, let’s get them in there.
You must run camera surveys in order to properly trap hogs. Trapping “blindly” will not work in this case. Back to the idea of a sounder, if you do not run cameras, you will not know when the hogs are coming into the trap, if they are coming to the trap, or how many are coming into the trap. Furthermore, if you release the door too soon, you are teaching the individuals that are still skeptical about entering the trap. So, after setting up your trap, immediately bait it (soured corn vs. fresh corn is a big dispute; use both in my opinion). Pour bait around it and in it. SECURE THE DOOR. Do not let the door trip until after running cameras. After you have proof of a whole sounder entering the trap, it is okay to start tripping the door. In my experiences, tying rope to the door and then placing a piece of pipe or something sturdy into a hole which is connected to the opposite end works well. Dig a hole close to the panel opposite of the door. Place the pipe running parallel to the panel or fencing in the hole and cover it with corn. When the hogs get to the pipe, they will move it with their snouts, tripping the door. The door closes and you have just successfully trapped a sounder of hogs (or at least close to a whole sounder). But don’t stop there! Pigs have a gestation length of 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days and they become sexually mature at 6 months of age. The average litter is ± 8 piglets…they are multiplying as we speak!
If you feel like you are being overthrown by feral hogs on your property, retaliate now. Get a few buddies together one weekend and construct your own trap. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just a corral shape and very sturdy; no box traps! Place your trap somewhere in the midst of hog country! Whatever you do, don’t forget to run cameras!! Cameras will ensure the success of your trap and will diminish your chances of educating other individuals. If you are having issues, reevaluate your trap. Maybe it is not supporting enough individuals at one time, or maybe you don’t have enough bait out. This is a trial and error situation; so be persistent because feral hogs sure are.
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