By: Glynn Harris
The frightening commentary about feral hogs around much of the country today is this – if you don’t have hogs on your property now, just wait; they’re coming.
So, what is the problem with having feral hogs on your property? Aren’t they just another species of wildlife that have a right to compete for living spaces? Not exactly – wild pigs not only can but do horrific damage to the landscape, rooting up food plots and fouling water sources.
They’re worse than that. Feral pigs also are disease carriers of up to 37 parasites with at least 30 diseases that can be transmitted to people, pets, or wildlife. The case is thusly made that wild pigs need to be eradicated or their numbers reduced.
But how do you go about that? You can try to shoot them but when harassed just a bit, they become as wary as deer and start doing their damage under the cover of darkness.
Trapping efforts thus far have only a margin of success as when some are caught, the others become wary of traps. In wide open spaces like south Texas where they present a serious problem, hiring a team of shooters firing from helicopters has been somewhat successful.
The use of poisoned bait will take out hogs, but more species than pigs are attracted to the bait. Surely there must be some method that has promise of working.
According to Union Parish resident Peyton McKinnie, there is a way that can put a damper on feral hogs, but it only works in one area at a time, unless the general public gets behind the effort and coughs up the dollars necessary to get it done.
“Feral pigs began showing up on our hunting club over the past few years,” said McKinnie. “We did some research and learned that there are an estimated 700,000 feral hogs in Louisiana. We felt we had to try and do something about those in our area.”
Contacting a company headquartered in Sterlington, he and some of his hunting club members invested in a product manufactured by Hog Boss, a system that utilizes a pen and gate that can be triggered remotely when hogs enter the pen.
“You can purchase the whole package for around $4,000 but if you build your own pen with panels that can be purchased at several area businesses along with t-posts, you can purchase the gate from Hog Boss that includes a control system with a remote camera that can be activated by a cellular phone,” added McKinnie. “We built our own pens and purchased the gate and control system for about $1,300.”
Does it work? Consider that since deer season ended this year, McKinnie and his friends have trapped and disposed of 145 feral pigs, and they trapped these on just two hunting clubs in Union Parish, plus another area they had permission to trap.
In a statement on the Hog Boss website (hogbossgates.com) the owners said, “In just a few nights, feral swine can decimate lawns, native habitats, and pasture lands. Common feral swine damage includes rooting, wallowing, and trampling of sensitive vegetation totaling an estimated $1.5 billion in damage annually.
“Hog Boss gates are the most effective cellular-controlled hog trapping system on the market. The gate includes a cellular control unit, long range antenna, and solar panel. It requires cellular activation that can be operated for about $100 a year. The gate requires a 12-volt battery and cellular trail camera, and our system will work with any cellular trail camera.”
We inquired of McKinnie as to what happens to the pigs that are trapped.
“All the meat is donated, and we have had no problem finding individuals or groups who are happy to make use of the meat,” he said. “We have been pleased with the way it has worked for us and encourage any group to invest in the system to help in reducing the numbers of these destructive animals.”
For more information, contact Hog Boss Gates at 800-726-9930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.