Agri View: Feral Hog Control

DanAgri View, Environment, General

Feral pig, wild hog boar
Everett Griner talks about feral hog control still foundering in today’s Agri View.

Feral Hog Control

From: Texas A&M Agri Life

Control Techniques for Feral Hogs

by Gary A. Littauer, District Supervisor, Texas Animal Damage Control Service

Abstract: Methods of controlling feral hog damage are described. Literature on fence designs to exclude hogs indicates hog-proof fences must be net or diamond mesh wire with small (< 15 cm) wire spacings. Several designs of electric fences or electrifying existing fences are reported to be effective in excluding most hogs. Lethal techniques described include neck snares, cage or pen traps, hunting with dogs, and aerial hunting with helicopters. These techniques accounted for 55%, 14%, 6.3%, and 17%, respectively, of the hogs taken by the Texas Animal Damage Control Service during 1983-1992. An integrated approach to controlling feral hog damage is recommended.

Feral hogs (Sus scrofa) can cause significant damage to grain and vegetable crops in localized areas. They frequently learn to kill and eat lambs and kid goats and, to a lesser extent, prey on adult sheep and goats as well. Transmission of diseases such as brucellosis and pseudorabies to livestock and humans is also a concern among livestock producers and to animal and public health authorities (Texas Animal Health Commission 1992).

The consensus among ranchers and Texas Animal Damage Control Service (TADCS) personnel is that feral hog numbers are increasing in sheep and goat producing areas. This is supported by a nearly 10-fold increase in the take of feral hogs by the TADCS from 1983-1992 (TADCS files). Factors causing such an increase are the relatively high fecundity of feral hogs (Sweeney, et al. 1979; Baber and Coblentz 1986; Peine and Farmer 1990) and the increase in the availability of habitat where control efforts are not allowed due to sale of ranch properties to nonranching interests.

The tendency of feral hogs to cause damage and the threat of disease transmission have resulted in an increased interest in controlling their movements and populations. The purpose of this paper is to describe techniques and strategies for controlling feral hogs.

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