Trapping, especially where feral hog densities are high, is probably the most effective control method. However, traps may not be effective during fall and winter when acorns or other preferred natural foods are available. Hogs seem to prefer acorns over grain and other baits, probably due to the larger percentage of fat found in acorns. Leg snares and hunting may be more productive control methods during fall and winter, but usually require considerably more effort and should not be considered a long-term control stragegy. Stationary corral-type traps and box traps have been used with success, and will help to control numbers, but will not eliminate a hog population.
The corral or stationary trap is permanent and should be constructed in locations where large populations of hogs are evident and where more than one hog can be trapped at a time. It is recommended that the trap be built out of steel fence posts and 2 x 4-inch welded 12-gauge wire fencing. A gate frame can be made from 2 x 4-inch boards. Make doors from 3/4-inch plywood and mount them so that they open inward and close automatically with screen door springs. Heavier material may be used for the gate and frame in areas where exceptionally large hogs are to be trapped. Also, more steel fence posts may be needed to reinforce the wire fencing. The wire fencing should be put on the ground as well as at the top of the trap to prevent hogs from going under the sides or over the top. Fasten the sides to the top and bottom.
One or two small hogs can be left inside the trap with adequate food and water to act as decoys. A portable trap with a drop gate has been used very effectively and can be moved from one area to another. It is especially effective where hogs occur intermittently. Build the trap out of 2 x 4-inch welded 12-gauge wire over a 2 x 4-inch wooden frame using a 3/4-inch plywood drop gate. Place loose barbed wire fencing around the outside of the trap to prevent livestock from entering and to protect both the traps and bait material. When traps are not in use make sure trap doors are locked shut to prevent the possibility of trapping livestock.
There are a number of different styles of live or cage traps for wild hogs. The two described here have been used effectively throughout the southeastearn U.S. As many as 14 hogs have been trapped during a night in one trap. It is important that the material used in the construction of these traps be strong and heavy enough to prevent escapes. Corral-type traps have captured up to 104 hogs in a single night and may have to be reinforced with extra fence posts and heavier fencing material.
Persistence and dedication are required if a feral hog control program is to be successful. Traps must be checked daily to be reset and to replace bait when needed. Many times control measures fail because operators fail to check their traps or provide bait in adequate amounts. Trapping hogs that are feeding on acorns may be difficult because they seem to prefer acorns to grain or other baits.
Traps should always be checked from a distance when possible. If several large hogs are in a trap, the presence of a person or vehicle will frighten them and escapes can occur even out of well-built traps. A well-placed shot to the head from a large-caliber rifle will kill the hog instantly without greatly alarming other hogs in the trap. Always shoot the largest hog first, if possible. When a trapping program is being conducted, all hunting in the area should cease, especially the use of dogs, as this may pressure the pigs to move to another area.
A prebaiting program is highly recommended to ensure a successful trapping program. Grains such as corn, or oats make good attractants, as do vegetables or fruits, if a supply is available. If bait is accepted by hogs, replace it daily and get them accustomed to feeding around and eventually inside the trap. Make sure enough bait is out to induce wild hogs to return the next day; if no feed is available, they may move on to other feeding areas. A place where hogs have gathered in the past and seem to frequent often, is probably a good place to build a cor-ral-type trap. If only one or two hogs are attracted to the prebait, a portable trap should be installed.
Leg snares can be used with success where terrain prohibits the use of cage traps. Snares are not recommended if livestock, deer, or other nontarget animals are in the area. An ideal location for leg snares is at a fence where hogs are entering pens or on trails that hogs are traveling. Fasten the snare to a heavy drag, such as an oak limb, 6 to 12 feet ( in length, or longer if large hogs are in the area. Make sure the size of the cable is heavy enough to hold a large hog.