Several new fact sheets that address topics ranging from recognizing evidence of feral hogs to methods of capturing the destructive animals have been published by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.
“We tried to address the realistic and practical aspects of feral hog identification and management through these publications,” says Jim Cathey, a wildlife ecology specialist at Texas A&M University. “Their content is based on what we know from our individual experience and professional expertise, as well as from input received from farmers, ranchers and other landowners who have had encounters with feral hogs.”
Feral hogs cause an estimated $52 million in damages to Texas agriculture each year. They also cause problems in suburban areas, and in rural areas they compete with wildlife for food, cover
“Feral hogs not only damage crops and other property in the Plum Creek Watershed and other areas of the state, they also have been identified as a possible source of non-point pollution to the water table in many locations,” points out Mark McFarland, AgriLife soil fertility and water quality specialist. “And their aggressive rooting and wallowing contribute to the problem of soil erosion in many areas of the state.”
While the publications are focused on feral hog management in the Plum Creek Watershed area of Travis, Caldwell and Hays counties, most of the information is applicable statewide, according to the authors. The publications include photographs, capture-method building instructions and tips for successful capture.
One of the publications, Recognizing Feral Hog Sign, deals with indicators of feral hog activity, including damage from rooting, crop damage, wallows and rubs, tracks and trails, droppings and beds.
“Hogs are very mobile and often travel from field to field in search of food,” says AgriLife wildlife specialist Jim Gallagher. “It’s important to know where they’ve been and to anticipate where they may be going in order to increase the chance of success in capturing them. Recognizing their sign will help landowners in that process.”
Box Traps for Feral Hogs, Making a Feral Hog Snare and Corral Traps for Feral Hogs give detailed instructions on how to construct and use these different means of capture. Placing and Baiting Feral Hog Traps provides instruction on how to choose promising locations for trap placement and the best types of bait to use. It also includes a hog bait recipe, a list of baits and trapping tips.
Cathey says feral hogs and their damage are the responsibility of the landowner where they’re found, and, as a result, landowners spend considerable time and money attempting to manage them.
“Once feral hogs are established in an area, complete eradication is unlikely,” he says. “There is no silver bullet or a single quick fix. However, by using multiple approaches, landowners and managers can limit the size of feral hog populations and reduce the level of damage.”
The fact sheets can be found on the Plum Creek Watershed Partnership Web site at http://pcwp.tamu.edu/feral-hogs/capture-techniques and may be downloaded free from that site. Color versions may be obtained for a charge from the Texas AgriLife Extension Bookstore at https://agrilifebookstore.org, and also are available in Spanish from that site.