How to build a better hog trap

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Introduction

Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are medium to large-sized (e.g., 150–220 lbs.) mammals with a stout body toàn thân and a short, thick neck leading khổng lồ a pointed head & flat snout. Wild pigs are also known by a variety of different names including feral swine, feral pigs, wild boar, and wild hogs. They often live in groups, called sounders, that typically consist of several generations of adult females và their offspring. Wild pigs are not native to the Americas và were first introduced by Spanish settlers in the 1500s. Genetically, wild pig populations in North America today can include feral pigs (wild descendants of the domesticated pigs brought by the Spanish), Eurasian wild boar (wild descendants of a domestic pig native lớn Eurasia), & hybrids of these two. Across North America, including Florida, wild pigs are invasive and can cause extensive damage khổng lồ agriculture & a variety of ecosystems.

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The most common type of damage to the natural environment caused by wild pigs is disturbed ground and destroyed vegetation from rooting. Swine burrow into the soil with their snouts khổng lồ find roots, tubers, fungi, etc. This rooting loosens the soil, destroys native vegetation, & modifies the chemistry & nutrients of the soil. Wild pigs can harm not only natural ecosystems but also agricultural areas, livestock pastures, và even residential areas. Wild pigs also carry numerous pathogens, some of which are transmissible to lớn wild and domestic animals as well as humans.

Wild Pig Control and Management

Controlling wild pig populations is difficult because of their high reproductive rate. Females can reproduce twice a year, with an average of 6–8 piglets in each litter. Many control techniques can be used, including hunting & trapping. Lethal control methods are the only way to effectively reduce the population of wild pigs. It is estimated that 66–70% of a wild pig population needs lớn be removed annually just lớn hold the population at its current level.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) legally defines wild pigs as wildlife but not a game species, although wild pigs are ranked the second most hunted mammal in Florida, after white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). It is important to lớn understand the regulations for trapping, hunting, breeding, và moving wild pigs within Florida. On private property with landowner permission, wild pigs may be trapped and hunted year-round using any legal rifle, shotgun, crossbow, bow, or pistol with no kích cỡ limit, bag limit, permit, or license required. However, it is illegal lớn transport or release wild pigs on public or private land, except under specific limited situations. To lớn learn more about wild pig regulations in Florida, please visit https://www.fdacs.gov/Agriculture-Industry/Livestock/Animal-Movement/Swine-Movement-Requirements/Feral-Swine-Dealer-Application. Wild pig hunting is also offered on public wildlife management areas, where it is regulated by the FWC. Lớn find out more about public hunting seasons, bag limits, và other regulations, please visit https://myfwc.com/hunting/wild-hog/.

Trapping Wild Pigs

Trapping & killing wild pigs from private property is an effective way to lớn reduce or control local wild pig populations (Figure 1). There is strong evidence that removing the entire sounder of wild pigs, instead of individuals or partial groups, is the most effective way to reduce wild pig populations và control damage. This removal is often achieved with a trap that can capture the whole sounder, followed by humane dispatch in the trap. Hunting & other methods that do not remove the whole sounder are less effective because uncaptured or escaped wild pigs are educated of the danger of the traps & will be more difficult to trap in the future. This publication describes commonly used trapping techniques, traps, & gate designs. Several factors contribute khổng lồ successful trapping of wild pigs, including:

Identifying areas used extensively by wild pigs và focusing your trapping in those areasPre-baiting to allow wild pigs lớn become accustomed to lớn the food source you provideChoosing effective trap types and gate designs to lớn match the number of wild pigs you anticipate catchingPlacing bait in the proper location within trapsMonitoring traps & adjusting your technique as neededMaintaining patience & persistence

Game cameras will allow you khổng lồ adjust your trapping techniques as needed for successful wild pig trapping. They can monitor your traps for wild pig presence and help with troubleshooting. Game cameras will let you know whether your problem is trap-shy wild pigs (who have learned lớn be wary of traps), a faulty trap door or trigger, non-target species triggering your trap, or some other issue. Game cameras will also allow you to count the number of wild pigs in the sounder so you will know if you captured the entire sounder or not.


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Figure 1. Wild pig caught in a cage trap. Credit: Jesse Lewis, Arizona State University

There are four basic trap types: box traps, cage traps, corral traps, và silo traps. There are also several gate và trigger options that can be used with each trap type. You should choose a trap và gate type that is most efficient và cost effective for your needs. Some things to lớn consider when managing wild pigs by trapping include:

Density of wild pigs in the area và typical sounder (group) sizeYour budgetPortability & weight of the trap (if you need lớn move it)Presence of non-target species that could be captured in the trapNumber of traps neededWild pig management efforts being conducted by your neighbors or agencies

Choosing Trap Locations

When choosing locations for trapping wild pigs, look for signs of wild pig activity, including evidence of rooting, tracks, và wallows, và then look for a nearby area with shade và water. Sites where wild pig foraging has caused damage reveal that wild pigs are in the area, but these areas may not actually be the best places lớn put traps because wild pigs spend most of their time in shaded areas close to lớn a water source (Figure 2 và 3). It is best to lớn scout nearby low-lying areas such as river or creek bottoms, wetlands, và forest edges. Travel routes to và from these areas are ideal for higher catch opportunities. Setting traps at multiple sites may also increase your success. Keep in mind that vehicle access khổng lồ traps is usually essential for loading & unloading traps, baiting them, & removing dispatched wild pigs. You will also want lớn consider public safety by ensuring your trap site is not easily accessed by other people.


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Figure 2. A wild pig wallow. Nearby trails leading lớn the wallow may be a good place for traps. Credit: Raoul Boughton, UF/nhatroso.com
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Figure 3. Wild pig rooting damage. This site is not necessarily a good place for a trap because wild pigs spend more time in shaded areas with a water source, & vehicle access may not be possible. Credit: Raoul Boughton, UF/nhatroso.com

Pre-Baiting and Baiting


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Figure 4. Bait should be placed along the inside of the trap leading to the trigger và also on the trigger. View from the side (Left) & view from the top (Right). Credit: Wesley Anderson, UF/nhatroso.com

Common Reasons for Poor Trapping Success

Bad trap placement: Remember travel routes to và from shaded areas or water sources are typically more successful than sites of rooting damage.Excessively brief pre-baiting period: Monitor with trò chơi cameras, but pre-baiting may require up lớn 2 weeks, especially for trap-shy pigs.Faulty trigger: Be sure to kiểm tra your trigger multiple times before leaving a trap set. Khổng lồ trap a large sounder of wild pigs, a looser (harder to lớn trip) trigger will allow more pigs khổng lồ enter the trap before the trigger is tripped. For trap-shy wild pigs, you may want lớn try a tighter (easier lớn trip) trigger lớn ensure the pig is caught. Wild pigs can climb or jump and escape from traps with short walls or panels. Jump bars or walls/panels at least 5 feet high & round corral traps without corners will reduce the risk wild pigs will escape your trap.Abundant natural food: When acorn mast, other natural foods, or supplemental foods lượt thích minerals or molasses intended for livestock are abundant, you may have lower success trapping wild pigs.Hunting & dogs in the area: These factors can make wild pigs more wary and reduce trap success.Gates closed too early: Trap gates that close before all adults in a sounder are caught can leave wild pigs educated & hard khổng lồ trap in the future. Sometimes this is caused by a trigger that is too tight (springs too easily, before all the pigs in the group have entered the trap). Game cameras can help you monitor the behavior of wild pigs on your property & adjust your trapping techniques accordingly.

Types of Traps: Designs and Costs

Portable Wooden Box Trap

A relatively cost-effective trap that is ideal for capturing individual wild pigs or small groups of wild pigs (Figure 5).


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Figure 5. A portable wooden box trap. Credit: Mississippi State University Extension
Made of treated lumber or wood fence panels.Typically rectangular, 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, but can sometimes be square. At least 5 feet high, with no top.5-foot height prevents wild pigs from climbing or jumping out.Usually heavy enough to prevent lifting by wild pigs. If not, T-posts can be added to lớn prevent wild pigs from lifting trap sides & escaping underneath.

PROS

Simple khổng lồ constructCost effective

CONS

Capable of capturing only a small number of wild pigsMay appear confining khổng lồ trap-shy wild pigsHeavy; may require several people to assemble & transportMay require long-term maintenance

 


Portable Cage Trap

A stronger portable trap that is ideal for capturing individual or small groups of wild pigs (Figure 6).


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Figure 6. A portable rectangular cage trap (left) and a portable round cage trap (right), which can be rolled, making it easier lớn transport than a square or rectangular trap. Credit: Jesse Lewis, Arizona State University (left) & Randy Kelley, The Hawg Stopper LLC (right)
Typically, 4 feet wide, 6–12 feet long, & 4–5 feet high.Traps less than 5 feet tall should have a top panel or jump bars to prevent wild pigs from jumping or climbing out.A new round design can be rolled, which makes this style trap easier lớn transport than a square or rectangular design.

PROS

Can be constructed relatively easily, also available for purchase with little assembly requiredMay appear more open to trap-shy wild pigsEasy to store, transport, & relocate

CONS

May be capable of capturing only a small number of wild pigsMore expensive

PURCHASING INFORMATION

There are multiple vendors of cage traps. See examples below.

Voorhies Outdoor Products, LLC hog trap—Metal trap with 3 rooter doors8’ by 4’ by 3’$400The Hawg Stopper, LLC hog trap, aportable round trap with guillotine gateFor pricing tương tác 870-574-1824 or thehawgstopper
hotmail.com

Note: The University of Florida and UF/nhatroso.com bởi vì not endorse any company or trap type.

Corral Trap

An effective trap for capturing large groups of wild pigs (Figure 7).

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Figure 7. A corral trap for wild pigs. This trap is effective for large groups of wild pigs và is also flexible in form size and design. Credit: Mississippi State University Extension Service

PROS

Very effective for trapping large groupsAllows most non-target species to escapeOpen appearance may appear less threatening khổng lồ trap-shy wild pigsWhere wild pigs densities are high, the trap can be used long term. You can build the panel structure and move the doors lớn different panel locations depending on wild pig activity.

CONS

Requires more time and effort to lớn construct.

 

Silo Trap

A cost-effective trap that allows for the capture of large groups of wild pigs. It allows kiến thiết flexibility and can be used with a variety of funnel type gates (Figure 8). The trap is constructed from either continuous mesh panel or multiple livestock panels fastened to 6.5’ T-posts using U-bolts and cable clamps. The ends of mesh panels can be constructed lớn serve as a funnel in which wild pigs must push through to lớn enter a trap. Tines on the edges of mesh panel entry will prevent wild pigs from pushing back out. Traps should be at least 5 feet tall to prevent wild pigs from climbing or jumping out. It is also recommended to địa chỉ jump bars or wire across the top to prevent wild pigs from escaping.


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Figure 8. A silo or funnel trap. Credit: Jim Mitchell, feralfix.com.au
Flexibility in shape and form size allows a variety of possibilities lớn suit needs or materials on hand.Can vary in shape but are typically round lớn prevent wild pigs from piling up in corners & possibly climbing or jumping out.The funnel entry reduces the costs of building or purchasing a gate.

PROS

Easy lớn store, transport, & relocateCost effectiveFlexibility in design, shape, size, and funnel used (Figure 9)

CONS

Catch capability depends on sizeMore effort khổng lồ construct or relocate
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Figure 9. Various types of gates used in silo or funnel traps. Credit: UF/nhatroso.com

 

Mesh Trap

A cost effective, lightweight & portable mesh trapping system. The trap is constructed from a mesh base trap net connect to t-posts that allows pigs to push under the net khổng lồ enter the trap but does not allow them to exit (Figure 10).


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Figure 10. The mesh Pig Brig Trapping System. Credit: Pig Brig trapping Systems, https://pigbrig.com/

PROS

Very effective for trapping large groupsLightweightOpen appearance may appear less threatening khổng lồ trap-shy wild pigs

CONS

May get torn & need repairsRequires time & effort lớn set up

*Pig Brig Trapping System costs approx. 1,995 (t-post not included)

* pigbrig.com or 1-833-PIG-BRIG

Gate Types

There are many variations in design & materials used for trap gates. Most are made from steel or wood. Your gate choice depends on your budget, ease of transport, và the trap type. Gates can be either single catch (once triggered, no additional wild pig may enter the trap) or multi-catch (wild pigs may continue to lớn enter the trap after the first wild pigs have entered). The four basic gate types are:

Drop or guillotine gate – This gate is inexpensive & easily constructed. The gate is suspended by a trigger line. Once triggered, the gate will drop closed. Single catch (Figure 11A).Swing or saloon gate – This gate pivots toward the inside of the trap và is held with a trigger line. Once triggered, heavy springs close the gate quickly; however, pigs can continue to enter after the gate has closed. If the gate is not padded, it can be noisy and frighten other wild pigs. Multi-catch (Figure 11B).Rooter or lift gate – The hinged vị trí cao nhất of this gate allows one-way entry into a trap. It can also be set mở cửa and then drop closed with a trigger. If it is not padded, this gate can be noisy and frighten other wild pigs. Multi-catch (Figure 11C).Funnel entry – The ends of mesh panels can be constructed khổng lồ serve as a funnel wild pigs must push through to enter a trap. Tines on the edges of the mesh panel entry will prevent wild pigs from pushing back out. A benefit is the quiet closure. Multi-catch (Figure 11D).
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Figure 11. Various gate types that can be used to lớn trap wild pigs: drop or guillotine gate (A); swing or saloon gate (B); rooter or lift gate (C); funnel entry (D).Credit: (A) Joe Halseth, USDA; (B) Mississippi State University; (C) UF/nhatroso.com; (D) Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Trigger Mechanisms

Two types of trigger mechanisms may be used when trapping wild pigs: a rooter stick và a trip wire. For both, the trigger is released when a pig inside the trap contacts it while feeding, và the trigger pulls a line that is attached to the gate door, which causes the gate to lớn fall or swing closed.

Rooter Stick

A stick is wedged beneath two holding stakes in or around a bait pile (Figure 12). The stick is triggered when the wild pigs feed và root around, pushing the rooter stick out from under the holding stakes. The stick is supporting the weight of the gate. When wild pigs dislodge the stick, they trigger the gate khổng lồ close.


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Figure 12. Schematic of a rooter stick trigger mechanism. Credit: UF/nhatroso.com

Trip Wire

A line or wire is buried under bait or suspended slightly above the ground, attached khổng lồ a triggering device like a sạc or a shackle that will release the gate when pressure is exerted on the line (Figure 13 & 14). Many different designs are possible.


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Figure 13. Schematic of trip wire trigger mechanism using a shackle. Credit: UF/nhatroso.com, design by USDA Wildlife Service
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Figure 14. Shackle used with trip wire design in a cage trap. Credit: UF/nhatroso.com, kiến thiết by USDA Wildlife Service

 

“Smart” Traps

Smart traps have a remote-triggered gate & cameras that allow you to lớn wirelessly monitor your traps lớn catch entire sounders or large groups of wild pigs at the same time. Below are several examples of vendors và their products.

Jager Pro M.I.N.E™ Trapping System (Manually Initiated Nuisance Elimination)

Uses a large corral trap (35’ diameter) và an 8’ gate closed by a remote-control device. Trap is monitored with a wireless camera that can send pictures và videos khổng lồ your phone or email (Figure 15).MINE camera with live feed costs approx. $1,300Gate và camera costs approx. $3,000Entire M.I.N.E. Trapping System costs approx. $5,725
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Figure 15. Promotional images of the Jager Pro M.I.N.E. Trapping System. Credit: Photo courtesy of Jager Pro

BoarBuster—The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation

Uses a large corral trap that is suspended above the ground and then remotely triggered lớn drop over the entire group of wild pigs. Trap is monitored with a wireless camera that can send pictures and videos khổng lồ your smartphone or email (Figure 16).Next gene 4G BoarBuster Trapping System costs approx. $6,995With màu sắc HD approx. $7,995Distributed by W-W Livestock Systemssales
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Figure 16. Promotional images of the Boarbuster Trapping System. Credit: Boarbuster – Noble Foundation

Humane Trapping and Euthanasia

Although wild pigs are an invasive species, they are living animals that register pain and stress. Steps should be taken to minimize stress và ensure they are treated humanely when trapped and euthanized.

Humane Trapping

Traps should be checked at least once daily and placed somewhere with shelter or shade.Traps should be constructed lớn minimize injury. Small mesh kích thước should be used khổng lồ avoid snout injury (suggest 2” x 4”, but 4” by 4” is the minimum recommendation).Traps should be secured so that wild pigs cannot lift the trap.

Humane Euthanasia

Wild pigs should be euthanized quickly. The shooter should approach the trap quietly to lớn avoid panicking the trapped wild pigs.Wild pigs can be euthanized using a .22 caliber rifle or larger.Do not insert the rifle barrel into the trap through the side panels because wild pigs may charge và hit the barrel, potentially causing you or someone else injury. Instead, shoot through the panels or down into the trap from above.Two possible sites khổng lồ ensure a quick, humane brain shot:Frontal shot – center of the forehead, placed about 2–3” above an imaginary line directly between the eyes and aimed toward spine. (Figure 17A)Oblique shot – from behind the ear & aimed towards the opposite eye (Figure 17B)Be careful not lớn shoot directly between the eyes. A shot fired between the pig’s eyes will hit the nasal cavity, not the brain, and it will not immediately kill the pig. Lớn avoid injury, you should not enter the trap until you have ensured that all wild pigs have been euthanized

*Note: Wild pigs carry many diseases that are potentially harmful to lớn humans. Make sure lớn protect yourself by wearing gloves & other safety equipment when handling live or dead pigs. Khổng lồ learn more about pig diseases and contact resources visit: https://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/health/feral-swine/swine-brucellosis/ và https://www.cdc.gov/brucellosis/exposure/hunters.html.


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Figure 17. Location of frontal shot (A) & oblique shot (B) to humanely dispatch wild pigs. Credit: J.K. Shearer & A. Ramirez, http://vetmed.iastate.edu/

Additional Resources and Information

Hamrick, Bill, Mark Smith, Chris Jaworowski, & Bronson Strickland. 2011. A Landowner’s Guide for Wild Pig Management: Practical Methods for Wild Pig Control. Mississippi State University Extension Service & Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Available at https://extension.msstate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/publications/p2659_0.pdf

Mayer, John J., & I. Lehr Brisbin Jr. Wild Pigs: Biology, Damage, Control Techniques & Management. Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, NC. Available at https://sti.srs.gov/fulltext/SRNL-RP-2009-00869.pdf

Shearer, J. K., and A. Ramirez. 2013. Humane Euthanasia of Sick, Injured and/or Debilitated Livestock. Iowa State University Extensions. Available at https://vetmed.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/vdpam/Extension/Dairy/Programs/Humane%20Euthanasia/Download%20Files/EuthanasiaBrochure20130128.pdf

VerCauteren, Kurt C., James C. Beasley, Stephen S. Ditchkoff, John J. Mayer, Gary J. Roloff, & Bronson K. Strickland. 2020. Invasive Wild Pigs in North America: Ecology, Impacts, and Management. CRC Press. Available at https://doi.org/10.1201/b22014

West, Ben C., Andrea L. Cooper, và James B. Armstrong. 2009. “Managing Wild Pigs: A Technical Guide.” Human Wildlife Interactions Monograph 1:1–55. Available at https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=hwi_monographs