Farmers discuss ways to stop spread of feral hogs

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There are many different ways to try to capture or kill wild hogs, but with an animal that’s population can increase so quickly, the methods need to be effective.

“You could have one sow,” said John Tomecek, an AgriLife Extension Wildlife Specialist. “People always say we trapped a bunch of pigs and one sow slipped out. In two years that one sow could have reproduced enough, and its offspring reproduced, to create 50 pigs in a little over a year and a handful of months.”

Hogs can have up to three litters a year.

Tomacek also added hogs are on to those trying to round them up.

“These animals are easy to educate,” Tomecek said. “They learn quite a bit about what we are doing. If you don’t get a whole group together, then the survivors leave, and they know what you are up to and they will actually go back and teach future generations to avoid your control efforts, whatever it was that tipped them off to it. As smart as you think your dog might be, [hogs] are much smarter than your dog.”

One of the more common hog traps used is a corral trap, but experts said they’ve seen improvements on designs.

“We are able to catch 86 percent of the identifiable population, which basically means the population we have designated for that property based on camera surveys,” said Josh Gaskamp, who works with the Noble Foundation. “We can catch 86 percent of that population using drop nets where we are only able to capture 49 percent of that population using conventional corral traps.”

Hunting the feral hogs is a popular way to attempt to get rid of them but Gaskamp said it’s not an effective means of removing a large number of hogs from an area.

“I call hunting a hobby,” Gaskamp said. “It is fun to get out there and chase pigs with a rifle but typically if you are going to control pigs at the population level you need something that is focusing on the entire sounder and not just select individuals out of that sounder.”

Since the hogs are at the top of the food chain in Texoma, to get a handle on the feral population, Gaskamp says farmers and ranchers need to work together to have any shot of slowing them down. 

There have been toxicants on the market to help control the hog population, but they were taken off due to being inhumane. There is one being tested now that uses sodium nitride and Gaskamp said he is hopeful it will be on the market by 2020.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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