Methods of Control
Many people experiencing problems with hogs are eager to completely eliminate them. Their feelings are understandable, but extermination is very difficult. Feral hogs are prolific reproducers, adaptable and tenacious when it comes to survival. The most effective time to control feral hogs is when they first appear in an area. Once feral hogs are abundant, landowners may have to accept that they are permanent residents. Although total and permanent eradication is unlikely, there are several measures that can be used with some success to control numbers or prevent hog access. The most common measures include trapping, hunting and fencing.
Trapping is probably the most commonly used technique and can be relatively effective for controlling feral hog numbers. Cage and corral-type traps are the most commonly used designs. These traps are not only effective at capturing feral hogs, but they usually are the best option to remove large numbers of hogs in a short period of time. Feral hogs are probably most susceptible to being trapped during winter or early spring because less food is available, making baiting more effective.
There are several cage or corral trap designs that can be used with the primary differences between most designs being door configuration, portability, flooring, roofing and size. A corral trap should be built large enough to hold several hogs, with bigger usually being better. This trap can be constructed out of steel panels with 4 inch by 4 inch or smaller mesh and t-posts.
Panels placed over the top are optional, but, without a top, some hogs may escape by climbing over the panels - especially if the trap is not checked regularly. An effective option to avoid completely enclosing the top is to cut panels into 1- or 1.5-foot widths and attach them along the edges of the top, extending to the inside, around the entire perimeter of the trap. This creates a "prison style" fence to help prevent feral hogs from climbing out.
There are several door designs that can be used with this trap, but the slide door (drop gate), spring door and lift door are most common. A trip wire should be used to trigger all three types of trap doors. The primary consideration for any door configuration is to frame the door so that, once inside, feral hogs can't open the door with their snout.
If large enough, the corral trap design can catch sounders of 20 or more feral hogs at a time. The use of a Judas or decoy hog in a pen within the trap can also be very effective. However, this requires regular tending to keep the Judas hog fed and watered.
The portable cage trap equipped with a slide door or spring gate is also an effective design, but probably is more efficient when hog numbers are low. This trap's best feature is that it is highly mobile, but has the disadvantages of trapping only a few hogs at a time and not being large enough to allow the use of a Judas hog. Portable cage traps can be designed many different ways including the style shown in Figure 4. Some are designed and sized to be loaded into the back of a pickup or trailer and hauled to the trap site. Others have been designed with an axle underneath where the tires can be lowered and raised using a boat winch. This allows the trapper to simply lower the tires, hook up to a vehicle and transport the trap to a desired site and then retrieve it with feral hogs inside to take them to a location where they can be dispatched.
For traps to be most effective, they should be placed in areas frequently used by feral hogs. Feral hogs are highly mobile, so finding the best locations may be difficult. A trap should be prebaited for a minimum of two or three days so feral hogs become accustomed to entering the trap. When prebaiting, trap doors should be fastened open to allow free access in and out of the trap. Initially, bait is usually placed outside the trap near the entrance in small piles or short lines to acclimate hogs to the trap's presence. When hogs consume bait outside the trap, more bait can be placed at the entrance and just inside the trap. Prebaiting is complete when bait can be placed at the rear of the trap and hogs are freely entering and exiting the trap. At this time, the trap can be set. It is usually not necessary to go through the prebait process again unless the trap is moved to another location.
Bait used can range from homemade concoctions to specialized commercial blends, carrion or feedstuffs including whole corn, livestock cubes or soured grain. Whole corn is the easiest and the most commonly used bait. Traps should be checked daily, and captured hogs should be dispatched. Dispatching hogs in the trap may make subsequent trapping efforts in the same location more difficult. A better option, when the same location will be used again, would be to load captured hogs into a trailer and haul them to another area to be dispatched.
Traps and bait are available commercially. An online search for "wild or feral hog traps" or "wild or feral hog bait" will yield several sources.