John's Journal...

Feral Hogs – Here They Come

How to Control the Wild Hog and Protect Your Land

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: You may find hogs the next major wildlife threat to farmers.
According to Dr. Steve Ditchkoff, associate professor of wildlife at Auburn
University, "If you don't have 'em, you'll get 'em. Once you get 'em, more
than likely, you can't get rid of 'em. As soon as you think you're rid of
'em, they will return." Dr. Ditchkoff headed-up the first national
conference on wild pigs in Mobile, Alabama, in May, 2006, with 32 U.S. and
Australian researchers attending. Their findings may surprise you.

How We Can Control Wild Swine Populations:
The vast majority of states don’t consider feral hogs as a game specieClick to enlarges but instead nuisances. “More states are studying how they can make hunting feral hogs more appealing to hunters,” Ditchkoff advises. “In some states, you even can hunt hogs by spotlight at night with a permit. And, in Georgia, you can hunt hogs over bait.”
When I asked Ditchkoff how effectively hunting reduced feral-hog populations, he replied, “Hunting’s not effective, because hogs are intelligent animals and extremely sensitive to hunting pressure. Hogs simply will relocate away from an area with hunting pressure into a place without hunting pressure.”

For example, researcher John Dickson studied the wild hogs onClick to enlarge the Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Louisiana and learned that, “Despite approximately 5,000 visits by hunters each year, nocturnal behavior, wariness and dense palmetto prevented public hunting from effectively controlling the NWR’s wild-hog population, with only 56 hogs harvested there in 2005.” “Trapping is more effective than hunting, and right now, it’s the best tool we have for removing hogs,” Ditchkoff states. “But research proves that unless you spend a huge amount of money, manpower and effort, you can’t reduce hog numbers by trapping and/or hunting.”

What’s the Most-Effective Protection Against Hogs:Click to enlarge
“The best method for keeping feral hogs out of any area is fencing, which is expensive,” Ditchkoff emphasizes. “The next-best method is to get the hogs feeding regularly inside a trap to accustom them to going into the trap night after night for several weeks. Then, set the trap with a hard trigger to hopefully catch every hog possible in the herd when the door on the trap falls.” A cooperative effort of extensive hunting and trapping between adjacent landowners will have a greater impact on reducing and/or eliminating hog numbers than any individual landowner’s trying to solve the hog problem alone. Because of that, Missouri has set up a 16-member task force to coordinate and attack the growing wild-hog problem there. If you see hogs on your property, take action immediately to remove them through trapping and hunting.

Tomorrow: Wild Hogs Are Coming to a Town Near You


Check back each day this week for more about "Feral Hogs - Here They Come"

Day 1: How Bad Is the Problem?
Day 2: How to Control the Wild Hog and Protect Your Land
Day 3: Wild Hogs Are Coming to a Town Near You
Day 4: Hard Work for Wild Hogs
Day 5: Why the Big Hogs?



Entry 426, Day 2