Clemson Extension Forestry and Wildlife

Prime Time for Trapping Swine

pig (feral), wild boar at large (Sus scrofa (feral type)) Linnaeus
pig (feral), wild boar at large (Sus scrofa (feral type)). LinnaeusVladimir Dinets, University of Miami,

Now that winter has fully engulfed us, it is time to put a dent in the pig population. Winter is the time for trappers to remove large numbers of the hog population. The fall mast crops are gone. Residual agriculture stores have been depleted. Succulent spring growth is still a considerable distance in the future. Now is the time for trappers to capitalize on the lack of food resources.

So we have reached a period of limited food resources. This limitation should make it simple to draw, hold and prepare pigs for trapping. However, at this critical time, you must be strategic with each and every pig control effort you make. Trapping during the winter is most advantageous due to the lack of food resources. It is easy to succeed when you can provide the primary food source. However, it is also at this time that many managers see the same opportunity. Landowners must coordinate pig control efforts so that a single bait site is available to the sounder. This can be extremely difficult on smaller properties where multiple neighbors are also attempting to trap pigs. In these scenarios, we must work closely with our neighbors. Our pre-baiting and trapping efforts should not interfere with their efforts. If pigs can readily move from one bait pile to another, you cannot be the primary food source. Additionally, if you do not work together, you will not be as successful at removing large numbers of pigs from the properties. Always communicate with your neighbors, and trap sounder by sounder in a coordinated effort. Wait to start pre-baiting one site until the adjacent site concludes their trapping efforts. Going back and forth from property to property and sounder to sounder will allow you to maximize your success.

Being the primary food source is critical to pattern development. We need pigs to schedule their days around the food availability we provide. Once pigs have established their pattern on the bait site, we can catch them. We do not want to break this pattern until the pigs are trapped. Breaking this pattern is the worst-case scenario, and we may not get these pigs back on this pattern before spring. When we are pre-baiting, all other control efforts in that area must stop. A pack of hog dogs working thru the site may push the sounder way out of the area. Likewise, shots fired at a group of hogs crossing a field or road may break the pattern. A night hunter shooting a couple of pigs in the trap area can break the pattern. Remember when you are trapping or preparing to trap, NO other control activities should be going on. In a successful program, the pattern is only broken when the gate drops and the sounder is trapped.

Landowners spend millions of dollars each year battling wild pigs. Efforts continue each year, as does the total expense of management. Work closely with your neighbors. Communicate with each other. Help each other. Plan, prepare, and execute your management efforts in a strategic manner so that you get your money’s worth.


W. Cory Heaton, Cooperative Extension, Forestry and Wildlife Specialist

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