Manage wild hogs right the first time

08/20/2012 10:26:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

feral hogsCourtesy University of FloridaFeral hogs are smart and will remember where they've experienced danger before.Elephants may never forget, according to an old adage, but feral hogs have a good memory, too.

When managing the four-footed pests, you need to do it right the first time, according to a news release.

If you don't, hogs will communicate to other members of the group, warning them about traps or danger.

Florida ranks No. 2 in the nation for feral hog problems behind Texas.

Not only can wild hogs cause substantial damage by rooting, they also can be a source of foodborne illnesses.

In a University of Florida survey, researchers asked nearly 90 land managers about their hog management programs.

Forth-seven percent said their hog control efforts were marginally effective, whereas another 25 percent said they had no effect.

Among the more popular methods are hunting and trapping.

A second survey is underway to determine why their methods succeeded or failed.

Earlier research showed a corral-style trap was the most effective.

As its name implies, corral traps are large structures constructed of heavy wood or metal.

Initially, the trap is baited and the hogs are allowed to become accustomed to it.

After several days, the user can activate the trap so the hogs are unable to escape.

Because of their size, corral traps are difficult to transport from one area to another.

In addition, not ever landscape is suited to them.

Researcher Joanna Huffman, a hunter and a graduate of the university's Master Naturalist program, said the study results reinforce the fact that feral hogs are smart.

“If they’ve seen a trap, they remember it,” she said in the release.

Ken Gioeli, a St. Lucie County Extension agent, said if one hog associates an area with danger, it will warn others.

"That's why it's important to try to do it right the first time," he said in the release.

For more information on hog management, visit University of Florida.



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